korean art

This Weekend: Seyong Chung Gives Us The Space We Need

One sign of a great artist is when they can continue to surprise us. Seyong Chung (cover artist of the September 2013 issue) is an installation artist from Daegu whose past use of metal and light has produced some amazing galactic installation pieces. His work can make the viewer feel as if they have entered a planetarium as light shines through pinholes in metal and creates a calm, meditative atmosphere.

Now, Chung has created a vastly different environment with his exhibition of 스페이스 1970 (Space 1970) at Bongsan Culture Center in downtown Daegu. The artist has exchanged metal for wood and has included many found objects in his work. The entire installation looks like someone has prematurely moved in to a new house which has only just begun to be framed.

[b]racket editors Jess Hinshaw and Chris Cote we lucky enough to attend Chung's opening reception on Wednesday as Chung stepped out of his comfort zone and presented an affecting performance piece.

Jess commented that "it was impressive to see an artist who is so well established continue to evolve his work and try something new so successfully."

Chung continues to wow us. Be sure to see his newest exhibition before Sunday, November 9th on the second floor of Bongsan Culture Center. 

The exhibition is free to enter. Click Here for a map to the venue.

- Lisa Highfill

The Biggest One Yet

The [b]racket team are all back and accounted for here in Daegu after our summer vacations -- just in time to offer up our largest issue of [b]racket EVER! This month's issue is a whopping 37 pages. As always, we're featuring work from six talented artists: Rachel Rothwell (mixed media), UNMARU (glitch art), Choi Jae Hoon (drawing), Hae Rim Joung (painting), Gaby Cardenas (mixed media), and Mariya Haponenko (drawing). 

We're givin' ya the internet goods a bit early this month and making the online edition available now. Take a look at the digital issue today and make sure you get your hands on a hard copy this weekend. Check the locations tab at the top of the website to see where you can pick one up.

- Lisa Highfill

The Art Store You've All Been Looking For

When an artist first moves to Korea, the first thing they're going to ask is, "Why is there not toilet paper in all public bathrooms?" The second thing they're going to ask is, "Where can I get quality art supplies?" The first question has no satisfying answer, I'm afraid. But the second question is easily answered: I Am Art Store!

I Am Art has been a go-to spot for artists in Korea for ages, and every newbie artist in Korea needs to know about it. I Am Art specializes in painting supplies, but they also have a strong variety of most other art supplies as well. It's a huge two-story space, with an additional mezzanine full of goodies. The owner, Park Soo Yong, is always willing to help you find what you're looking for...


...and he's a big fan of [b]racket, too!

I Am Art Store is easy to get to and open every day. Make your way over soon and take a look.

Take exit 4 from Myeongdeok subway station on the red line. Walk straight for less than a minute and you'll see the building on your left.

- Lisa Highfill
Photos by Jess Hinshaw

Ha Chong Hyun: Supporting Thoughtful Quiet Spaces Since 1970

Part of me wants Wooson Gallery to be full of visitors whenever I visit. Any time I decide to go, I have hope that when I walk in I will see loads of expats and Koreans enjoying this amazing downtown art gallery. But usually the place is deserted save for the one attendant behind the front desk in the open foyer. While I wish more people would take advantage of this great space that is always exhibiting interesting work,  another (larger?) part of me wants it to stay exactly the way it is -- a mostly empty and totally silent place for me to wander.

This was the perfect environment to view the current exhibited collection of work from Korean artist Ha Chong Hyun. Ha has been practicing his art for decades. After graduating from Hongik University in 1959, he began and has maintained a successful career by exhibiting his work around the world.

Ha's paintings are striking. They are large in scale and should be viewed from a distance for a few moments before coming in for a closer look. As you do move closer to each piece, the texture is tempting to touch (but don't touch it, duh). Texture is used by many painters to create dynamic and complex pieces, but I personally have never seen a technique implemented quite like Ha's.

Ha wraps burlap over each large canvas and pushes acrylic paint through the back, causing the pigment to push through the porous material. But this is just the base of each of Ha's paintings. From here, he plays. Sometimes the paint is scraped, pressed, or brushed across the canvas. Each decision he makes with a piece is precise and effective. Ha seems to use the pigment more as a material than as variation in tone or hue. Most of his pieces are monochromatic with the texture demanding the most attention. 

Ha's works are large and commanding while still holding a delicacy and softness. They are quiet pieces, and fit well within their calm environment at the modern Wooson Gallery. The collection is a perfect fit for the space, and a perfect way for you to spend an afternoon.

There's much more to learn about Ha and his work than can fit in to a single post. Take the time to sit in the foyer of Wooson and flip through their collection of art books behind the counter. The receptionist will be happy to lend you one in English or Korean. 

Did I mention it's FREE? It is. 
Gallery hours: Monday - Saturday, 10:30AM - 7PM (6PM on national holidays)
Exhibition Dates: ends July 27th
Directions to Wooson: Take exit 9 from Banwoldang station. Take your first right (under the big awning) and walk for about a minute. Wooson Gallery is the large concrete building on your left.

- Lisa Highfill


An Emotional King Sejong: One of 52 Moments

Moments Watches King SejongMatt Ferguson’s art caught our attention back in 2012; so much so that we decided to make it our cover art for the very first issue of [b]racket. Since then, Matt has moved from Korea, but his collaboration with Moment Watches suggests that his time in the ROK made a lasting impression. His unique and simplistic watch design depicts King Sejong, the beloved Korean historical figure responsible for the creation of Hangul, with a tear running down his face. Matt created this work to illustrate that while Korea’s hasty rise in industry and economic power have proven fruitful for the nation, it has come at a cost to the country’s traditional culture and values. He believes that King Sejong might be happy to see Korea as successful as it has become. However, he might also be saddened by what it took out of the Korean people and environment to get here. Matt's work is a reminder of the line that Korea walks between their love of tradition, and their drive to be a leader in the modern global economy.

While it might be a somewhat serious message, it’s a seriously awesome-looking watch. Click here to check out the timepiece that serves as Week 12 for Moment Watches’ “Year of 52 Moments” campaign.

Sidenote: If you were planning on coming to Gallery [t.] this Saturday, Aoife Casey's reception has been postponed until February 15th. So we'll see you all NEXT weekend!

- Lisa Highfill

Cartoonist Kevin Kilgore Lightens The Expat Mood

Kilgores' got love for the ajummas Do all expats in Korea eventually turn in to grumpy kimchi-hating perpetual eye-rollers? It can sometimes feel that way. [b]racket artist Kevin Kilgore (featured in the September issue) recently had something to say about the cure for his own bad attitude in the Korea Herald this week.

“It’s so easy to start complaining about life in Korea, especially when you’ve been here for a while,” he told the Herald. “So, I figured I’m here for a reason, and I must like it here, so why not draw about that?”

And so he did. Things I Love About Korea is one of Kilgore's ongoing projects. The name says it all; he is compiling a  list of things he loves about living in the ROK and draws comics to illustrate his points. I found myself agreeing with a lot of "loves" on his list, such as Korea's delicious and inexpensive food or all the "freebies" that come heavily taped to products you buy at the grocery store. While scrolling though some of Kilgore's comics I even began to feel a bit sappy and sentimental about those interactions and occurrences that we can only experience here in Korea. Then I remembered how much people spit in the street and got a hold of myself.

But remember to focus on the positives, folks, and keep up with all the Korean things Kevin loves (you probably love 'em too) at his blog.

Check out the article at the Korea Herald which features Kilgore and a number of other artists who have experienced and create comics based on expat life in the country we love, and admittedly, sometimes love to hate.

- Lisa Highfill