Oh Myung Hee

Oh Myung Hee

13 - 30 October 2017

Metamorphosis- A Journey of Transformation


Metamorphosis will celebrate the work of Korean artist Oh Myung Hee and draw attention to the constantly changing relationships between past and future, tradition and innovation showcased in her unique paintings.

The artist’s central themes of change, renewal, nature and the search for one’s true self will be appropriately displayed via both a unique installation offering a multisensory experience and a traditional wall display.

This polar relationship between the modern and traditional in Oh Myung Hee’s art is born out of her conflicting views of Korean society. On the one hand she has a sincere and deep passion for its traditional, but restrictive, values; on the other, and particularly as a woman, she has an equally strong desire to challenge the status quo. Recurring themes in her art are flying scarves, falling petals, birds – all metaphors for spiritual and physical freedom.

If contemporary Korean artists disdain the past and celebrate high technology, she is unique in continuing to reference and celebrate the historical, simultaneously drawing it into the future. Her poetic world is rooted in her country’s long and prestigious narrative, but her message is a precise observation of the difficult balance between what has gone before and what lies ahead.

Her technique, too, exhibits a dichotomy, this time between Western methods and Oriental ones. She uses lacquer, the centuries old Oriental technique that Westerners admired and tried to imitate. In this sense, she draws from the past – but then she experiments, adding oil pigment, bending the limits of lacquer painting, often using an unusual canvas support, building so many layers that details detach from the background and enter space, adding a marked three dimensional aspect to some of her works which become sculptural. She also adds unusual or precious materials, like mother of pearl, eggshell and gold leaf.

In some works she employs old photos of Korean streets and begins to work around them and on them, building up surface and colour as if they were the encrustations of time and mental reflection. In others, a traditional Korean appreciation of untamed nature as the ultimate expression of perfection is presented.

Gwangsu Oh, art critic and director of SAN Museum, calls Oh Myung Hee’s contemplative and evocative art the place where “the current and past subtly overlap, bringing the dimension of time into space, to mix reality and memory.”

Prince Michael Of Kent Attends The Opening Of Exhibition

Oh Myung Hee


Oh Myung Hee

Seoul Arts High School

Sejong University (B.F.A)

Graduate School of Sejong University (M.F.A)

Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA) researcher

Professor of college of art & design at Suwon University

Seoul Fine Arts Association, served as Vice President / section

Korean Fine Arts Association, served as planning director

Grand Art Exhibition of Korea, served as judging committee member

Grand Art Exhibition of Korea, served as steering committee member

Artist’s Note

Fundamentally I have always been a romantic and an optimist.
I firmly believe there is no better way to live,
and if there were…
I would not know.
The world is unforgiving, after all
Ephemeral and ever-changing,
full of dangers and contradictions…
Some might even call it tragic.
In spite of this, my artwork aims to focus on scenes that are,
or scenes that were, once beautiful.
“Once,” because indeed,
these moments are not eternal.
The petals of a gorgeous bloom
will inevitably begin to wither
once they have reached the zenith of their beauty.
Songbirds warbling their lovely melodies
will fly away at any instant.
Here, the scarf is an abstract incarnation of myself.
It flutters freely in the breeze,
both assimilating into
and contributing toward
the splendor of the scenery.
But alas…
it, too, is merely one component
of a fleeting moment
in this volatile succession of scenes
we call life.
Through my pieces I aspire to capture
pure, exquisite glimpses of the world
as sincerely as I can.
They may call forth long-ago recollections
of a particularly memorable scenic excursion, perhaps,
or stop a busy passerby in his tracks
and provide pleasant respite
from the din and discord of modern life.
As if
immersing yourself into the landscape
of a Basho haiku,
my art will remind you to savor the brilliance
of a transient,
but nevertheless beautiful,

작가 노트

기본적으로 나는 낭만주의자이고 긍정주의자이다
그렇지 않고 삶을 살 다른 방법이 없다고 생각하고 난 모른다
세상은 그리 녹녹치 않기 때문이다
너무 빨리 변화하고 위험하고 모순투성이여서
슬프기까지 하다

내 작업은
그럼에도 불구하고
아름다운 장면
아름다웠던 장면에 주목한다
그것 역시
영원하진 않다.
아름답게 활짝 핀 꽃잎들은 가장 아름다운 순간에 한쪽에선
이미 지고 있고
사랑스럽게 지저귀던 새들도 어느샌가 포로롱 날아가 버린다.

여기에 스카프는 내 분신이다.
자유롭게 날아다니며
아름다운 장면에 동화하기도하고 연출하기도 하지만 이것 역시 휘발성 강한 삶의 한 장면인 것이다
내 작업은
매우 보편적인 아름다움을
매우 천연덕스럽게 표현함으로써

다시 추억하게하고
바삐 가던 걸음 멈춰서서
고단함을 치유하게 하는 작업이다
바쇼의 하이쿠의 한 장면처럼
사라져 가는
한 순간을
참 아름다운 한 순간을
바라보는 것이다.



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