Park Jieun: Abstracted City

23 January - 23 February 2020

Park Jieun is a Korean artist who uses an intriguing combination of traditional and contemporary methods and materials. She superimposes painted images of modern cityscapes over expressive brushstrokes in ink, applied to Korean paper and decorated with gold leaf. The cityscapes are meticulously painted in acrylic and are a record of her personal travels. The brushed images are gesturally powerful, reminiscent of traditional Korean calligraphy. She describes these marks as descriptive of her emotional response to the stress and excitement of experiencing new places.


These pieces work by revealing a secret and then articulating a dichotomy. From a distance they look like abstract expressionist paintings, but closer inspection discloses the detailed representations of actual places. A strange fusion of differing aesthetic sensibilities takes place. The artist manages to contain two rather incompatible modes within one piece. This mirrors her simultaneously-experienced, but conflicting feelings of elation and dread on encountering the new and alien.


Park Jieun's achievement depends on her sophisticated understanding of technique and a subtle ability to switch between systems of production. On one hand, she deploys the emotional engagement of gestural painting. On the other, she crafts the painstaking discipline of detailed observation. In so doing the artist arrives at an effective and engaging synthesis.