January 29 – May 21, 2016
HWEH-GEEH Returning Again, Jinwon Chang
Can’t Stop Thinking About….Donuts, Jae Yong Kim
HWEH-GEEH Returning Again
The imagery for the exhibition HWEH – GEEH was inspired by three near-death experiences in Jinwon Chang’s life, each as a result of nearly drowning; at age 4 in a river, at age 10 in a swimming pool, and in high school at sea. These traumatic events were the catalyst that resulted in Jinwon creating imagery based on aquatic creatures and vessels able to survive in water. In their suspended state, as installed in the exhibition, they become for him floating self-portraits.
“This site specific installation is my attempt at capturing a spiritual odyssey in motion – a collective narrative of searching for an infinite truth in a finite world,” Jinwon said. “Hweh-Geeh is ‘to return again’ in Korean, as we are born we are destined to return to the source.”
For Jinwon, the act of creating his art is a meditative experience that brings him closer to his source. The gallery in which it is placed becomes a meditative space that includes the viewer on his spiritual odyssey for truth. It is here that Jinwon confronts his fear of death brought on by the trauma of drowning. Jinwon in his meditations becomes the creatures and vessels who can survive in the environment. In doing so, he overcomes death.
Jinwon was born in South Korea in 1967. He completed two M.F.A. degrees, one at Chung Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, and another at SUNY-New Paltz in New York. Since 1990, his artwork has been widely featured in more than 150 solo and group exhibitions in international and national galleries and public spaces. His work is in both public and private collections around the world, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea), Silpakorn University (Thailand) and City Hall (Kwangju, Korea).
Above: Jinwon Chang
Can’t Stop Thinking About…Donuts
Jae Yong Kim’s work is rooted in his desire to understand and find his identity and the meaning of ‘Home.’ He explores these issues through the use of surrogate subjects in his work, such as snails and donuts. He is recognized and noticed for his quirky, eclectic, and humorous renditions of these subjects, and for his ability to create a relatable language for the viewer in order to deal with human issues such as cruelty, pain, anguish, joy, love, and friendship.
This exhibition, titled Can’t Stop Thinking About…Donuts features his ceramic donuts from his Lusting after Donuts project including the series Blah, Blah, Blah and Donut Fields.
The Donut Series came about after he sought to open a donut restaurant and lost all his money doing so. Kim thought he could make money with something he loved – Donuts – but it was not making them as edible items as he expected, but rather by remaining true to his desire to be an artist and making them as ceramic works. In doing so he succeeded.
Jae Yong Kim, born in South Korea, spent much of his childhood living in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before returning to South Korea as he finished high school. In 1994 he moved to the United States to pursue university studies. These early experiences with moving abroad are explored throughout his work as an artist.
Kim received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, and his Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He currently teaches as a professor at Seoul National University of a Science and Technology.
Above: Jae Yong Kim
These two exhibitions are made possible with the cooperation and support of the KATESHIN Gallery in New York City and the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, with additional support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Please join us at the Museum for a reception to meet the artists and celebrate the opening Friday, Jan. 29 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. If you plan to attend the reception, RSVP to 989-964-7082 or email@example.com by Thursday, Jan. 21.