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The depth of the BLUE

An Extrasensory and Imaginary Landscape


Young-taek Park (Professor of Kyonggi Univ., Art Critic) 

 Silica, sand, and lime powder cover the screen, made from traditional Korean paper Hanji, and a sharp tool scratches the surface in a tracing motion. This primitive motion reminds us of the origin of imagery, delivering to us the world of human artistic desire encompassing memory, imprinting, storage, and propagation, through the sense of touch. Pigments are dispersed like mist on the screen where the traces are engraved like implicit signs, unknown hieroglyphics, and symbols. The pigments spread across the rough and mixed component screen are primarily deep blue and darker colors, with the red of oxidized iron, and opaque green evoking the deep ocean or the walls of a damp mossy cavern. The screen itself becomes the plane of an abstract painting. In invites us to enter a ‘fantasy space of a multi-layered imaginary structure' that projects from the 2-dimensional flat plane. The surface of the painting is a ‘plane charged with the power of pure, absolute imagination' which draws our minds within. The lines aimlessly laid out by an Asian ink brush across this languid surface suffused with a holy atmosphere or cryptic mind, creep like a earthworm or a snake, tangled in a skein, floating, alluding to but never quite manifesting a straight line or geometric figure. Scribbled lines sway and vibrate like rippling seaweed or wind-blown grasses. The lines appear aimless, purposeless. They do not describe any specific subject, yet evoke any number of concrete images. They appear suddenly and by chance on the multi-layered screen, conveying the painter's thoughts and the speed of thinking, flickered traces which occur by chance. It is like momentary thoughts which suddenly flickers in and out of existence from within the vast, deep ocean of thought. Moments, lively and vibrant, encompass abstract and strange thoughts. 

Unlike clearly recognized characters, these lines make a record of desperate gestures, merely glimpsing a frenetic frenzy of ideas, impossible to catch, awakening ephemeral feelings. This process is ’drawing the landscape of symbols encapturing the brain's murmuring, inarticulate and not yet crystalized’. The symbols vividly describe a modest but potent unknown tale which evolves into infinity and floats adrift in the deep, blue sea of imagination where time and space within the painter's brain come together. The shapes, impulsively and spontaneously generated, recognized and liberated through intuition are intended to be freely viewed in suspension, within the minds of viewers.

 The lines burgeon as independent life, crossing the boundary of the screen. This vitality is mutable and creative without and defined form. It implies flowing energy, or the principle of life. It is like an aquatic entity in the deep seas, existing as a living thing on the screen. 

The painter magically invokes living thing upon the screen which is itself another living thing crafted by the painter. She declares that her drawing captures the process of seeking the ‘story of virtually everything in pursuit of nature’, ’the principle behind the origin and creation of all living things’. The work cannot be understood any more than nature and life can. The work is captured moment of weird symbols and tracings which slowly circle and slip, softly spreading, into background. It is the swaying of hands dancing across a skin of delicate colors. Drawing with the hands is one significant aspect of body language. It is the symbols and language of thoughts and the vivid feelings that escape from the codes defining the real world. 

The painter says that her own paintings are vivid records of vague but profound thoughts, not focused or defined, together with the process of a pure visual experience of the infinite area of thoughts, which also cannot be fully fathomed.  

These paintings include all things that flower within a living entity. I very much appreciate the lovely colors, the soft rhythms created by the weird forms, the sense of slowness, the tactility, and the thrill of the brush across the surface. The sensory experience of the brush is enticing. All these things come together to create a sense of mystery, of inspiration, and puzzlement.

Likewise, the unidentified and the identified alone sometimes become images of mysterious power. Perhaps the painter sought to capture things impossible to reproduce, without fixed meaning, or existing beyond meaning in these paintings. These are tracings and omens rather than mere paintings. And yet, they take on the form of painting. 

Modern Art has deviated from the tradition of realistic renderings of physical beauty. It has sought to draw things of infinity unbounded by finite form. Jung-eun Lee also tries to describe impossible things in her paintings, to contain the uncontainable, to hold such in a pure plastic frame. Her painting is incorporated into a wholly united experience. Jung-eun Lee’s works have escaped the process of giving or capturing meaning, and cannot be named or labeled. They lie in a grey area, an area in which we cannot know whether or not it truly exists. 

Nature, living things, and life itself are all vague in some way. One's interior realm, thoughts, and feelings are all vague, unstable, mysterious, and impossible to reproduce, and painting can capture only a little of this complexity. A painting can also be an omen or clue. Painting is a desperate gesture. Even so, it comes close enough to us with its clear vibrations to suggest and evoke ideas and imagination. It awakens the viewer, and tries to wake us up.   

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