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  • Heo, Eun Young

artist’s note / The Motif of My Work ’09

Nature is the source of all kinds of human artistic inspiration. Growing up, I was always fascinated by the mystique and wonder of nature. The basic motif of my artwork comes from this ecological interest – the beauty of the endless changing nature. In particular, the vital spirit circulating from the core of plants. Over the years, I have worked on expanding the image of the core of a simple trifling seed and bringing to life its imagery.

In addition to exploring the world of nature, I have also been captivated with the “inner mind”, which I have symbolized in my work in the form of boxes. The boxes represent special emotions and memory. It represents man’s invisible emotion, desire of control and possession, ideas, concepts, emotions, memories, and the unconscious mind. In my personal life, the boxes represent special emotions and memories from my early years. In my artwork, the boxes seem to be empty inside. However, it’s an open space containing multiple senses (such as nature, life, beauty, death, anticipation, memory, imagination, knowledge, and events). It is the storehouse of what already happened or will happen, events that will re-occur or meet at the intersection where the future and the past cross.

Underlying Themes

My work with nature represents the vitality of the ecological process. It represents not only shoots or splendid petals, and tightly packed fruits, but also the fallen leaves, withered branches, and selected seeds. This relates to the many kinds of emotions in human life such as love, delight, wishes, dreams, despair, death, pain, and hurt.

In particular, my nature artworks are colored in bright tones close to the color white on the surface, so it reminds us of a snowy winter. However, In spite of that, it evokes and depicts the feeble vitality within the atmosphere with the gradation in soft tones in the background. These harmonizing colors remind us of the feeling of anticipation.

My artwork themed, ‘Fill Again’, deals with filling and retaining thoughts. It also deals with releasing and dealing with the delicate traces of previous thoughts. The theme also embraces the thoughts of emptiness felt by some, or one’s desire to fill a new, while others are preserved as they are. The intimate and delicate handwork which goes into making each box with Korean paper, is my sincere way to explore and manifest these ideas.

Materials /  I am greatly interested in working with and incorporating various artistic mediums. I have enjoyed trying a multiple of experiments in search of many kinds of materials. Since 2000, I have been fascinated by the uniqueness of Korean paper. My focus on Korean paper has brought many significant changes to my work. Korean paper has become the inspiration and consistent material for my recent box works.

Process /  My recent work with boxes and canvas is a delicate and complicated process. First, thickness is formed on specific parts of the canvas surface. Specific holes are made using a knife, which is then built up and molded using a paste. During this process, sandpaper is used many times to create both a solid and soft texture. The boxes are then carefully arranged. In addition, colored acrylic is applied to the surface delicately to create a controlled gradation effect.

After dyeing Korean paper in multiple colors, the boxes are separately manufactured, which gives the distinctive feature that the edge is widening in many folds. The prepared boxes are adjusted to the backside of the canvas’ holes. Transparent cloth that was previously attached on the canvas forms a transparent and thin screen on the opened surface of the box. It brings the non-pictorial elements into the picture such as thread, knots, and sewing. In this way, it pursues to differentiate from pre-existing abstract modernism and abstract expression works by mixing the medium with unusual elements in the painting.


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