Wonkaksa Gallery / 2020 NY
Photo exhibition of ‘Nature as a Canvas’ and ‘The Last Pencil on Earth’.
I had moved from Long Island to the Town of Blooming Grove in Orange County, NY 8 years ago, and settled in Sarang Mountain(https://www.facebook.com/Sarang-Mountain-378890002279991/). “Sarang” means love in Korean and Sarang Mountain is a nickname I’ve chosen for my home and art studio. It is located in a beautiful region proximate to Schunemunk mountainside, where I’ve dedicated a considerable amount of time and energy cultivating a garden, building a workshop, planting fruit trees and a flower island where a rundown swimming pool used to be. Additionally, I built two small bridges across a creek and a wooden pavilion where one can rest and reflect. I also built a large stone wall from stones scattered around the property. All of this was built by hand over a span of eight years.
Moreover, during that span of time, I also held three solo exhibitions, where I showcased all of my new artwork. I have been thoroughly enjoying the wide open space, as it fosters a conducive environment for me to generously pour my heart, mind and soul into my work.
With the passage of time at Sarang Mountain, I’ve been blessed to experience the changes from Spring to Winter, as well as the stark contrast from morning and night. Over a span of eight years, I have captured these moments through the lens of a painter, not a professional photographer. I have selected 62 photos for display at the exhibition.
Along with the photo exhibition, I will be unveiling for the very first time, a new three-dimensional work that I call “The Last Pencil on Earth.”
One day, during fall, while I was performing some carpentry work, I needed a pencil. I immediately went to my studio to look for one, but could not manage to find a standard HB (hard black) pencil. I looked everywhere for one but still could not find one, so I kept thinking to myself, “Why is there no pencil around…” And at that moment, I found myself caught up in a deep thought. My current predicament highlighted the current state of the world. Where a pencil was the tool used to facilitate sharing of knowledge and information, as time passed with major advancements in technology and with the arrival and advancement of the digital era, the pencil became the analog and past of the present. With continuous advancements of the digital world, a pencil is very much the opposite of those advancements.
In George Orwell’s 1984, he predicted a dystopian future in which the world was full of misinformation, fabrication, distortion and conspiracy. Ironically, there are some parallels between our society today and that of George Orwell’s. The constant misinformation campaign that is pervasive in society causes undue stress for those who are unable to distinguish the truth and facts and are constantly being manipulated.
The future, which became today as a result of humankind’s endless curiosity, desire, greed, and familiar objects or those that we cherished that were always around us – regardless of whether that was an object or a person, things which have always been familiar to us, cherished, touched, seen, and kept close – I would like to remind ourselves of these things we have forgotten or lost, either consciously or unconsciously, through this pencil work.
Through ‘The Last Pencil on Earth,’ I hope that we become aware of the unstable position of being unaware, where we cannot afford to give our hearts and eyes to those around us, and live a life where we feel the greatest love for everything around us today. So for this reason, the subtitle is named ‘Do it well when it is being.’ This is in consistency with the idea that love is the balancing power in the love triangle between nature, civilization, and humankind.
Moreover, with the advancement of IT and AI, many tools, jobs, and so forth have disappeared. Without a choice or time to adapt, we have been subject to the vast changes in our civilization and it has become a part of our daily lives. As such, I wanted to symbolize this sentiment with ‘The First Electronic Pen on Earth’ artwork that I created.
August 22, 2020