ARTIST NOTE
2018-01-08 작가노트-옻칠속의 난각
옻칠속의 난각- 시간의 모자이크
이번 전시는 캔버스에 오일이라는 전통적인 서양화의 틀을 벗어나 새로운 소재를 받아들여 만들어진 작품들이다. 새로운 시각에서 작품을 구상하고 한국의 문화 속에 오랫동안 자리 잡고 있던 옻칠과 난각(계란껍질을 옻칠의 판위에 모자이크함)을 작품에 도입한 새로운 시도라고 할 수 있다.

옻칠은 내부로부터 온화하고 함축적인 광택이 우러나오고, 깊이를 알 수 없는 심연을 연상케하며, 세상의 모든 사유를 포용할 듯, 말로 표현하기 힘든 신비로움을 지닌 천연의 도료이다. 접착력이 강하며 습기와 열에 강하고 부식과 벌레 먹는 것을 막아주어 수천년된 유물이 옻이라는 옷을 입고 원형 그대로 발굴되는 경우가 많다.

흔히 옻칠이라면 현란한 기술로 만든 가구나 기물을 떠올릴지 모르나, 내가 이번에 전시하는 작품의 대부분은 칠흑의 태판 위에 이루어진 평면작품이다. 우리 생활 주변에 타성처럼 오랜 세월 머물러 있어, 전혀 새롭게 인식되지 않던 옻칠로 작업한다는 것은 너무 막연하고 막막하였다. 특히 내가 구상하고 있던 작품에 대해서는 두드릴 문이 보이지 않았다. 먼저 그 물성을 이해하고, 기법을 익혀, 모든 것을 새로이 체득했지만, 일련의 과정은 시련과 도전의 연속이었다. 옻에 올라 며칠씩 작업을 중단하는 어려움을 겪기도 하였다.

재료의 특성상 표현의 한계에 부딪칠 때도 많았지만, 가능성에 대한 확신을 가지고 본격적으로 작품을 구상하게 되었다. 옻에 안료를 섞어 캔버스에 color의 옻칠 작업을 시도하였고
2018-01-08 Author`s Note-Beneath the Layers of Lacquer
Beneath the Layers of Lacquer

The group of artworks presented at this solo exhibition uses new material: lacquer and eggshell. The use of these materials is deeply rooted in Korean culture, yet reinterpreted as media for western art. 

Lacquer is a natural varnish that shines from inside. Its mysterious luster reminds of a deep ocean that absorbs all thoughts of the world. Lacquer is extremely adhesive and protects underlying material from heat, moisture, corrosion and insects. This is why many historic antiques coated with lacquer are found intact after buried for centuries. 

Lacquer is widely used in Korea for furniture and artifacts, usually with exuberant decorations. However, my works are mostly done within flat panel. Mastering the use of this familiar material was not an easy task. I had to understand the physical properties of lacquer, and learn the traditional technique of applying it. Then I experimented on new methods, which was a painstaking process. On top of all the technical difficulties, frequent lacquer poisoning held me from production for days. 

In the beginning, I used to realize the limitations of expression physically inherent in lacquer. However, after several variant attempts, I was convinced by the unlimited potential of this material; in the exhibition at Gwacheon Museum of Modern Art, I mixed the lacquer with color paint and applied on canvas. At the City Museum of Seoul exhibition, I carved out Hangul (Korean Alphabet) characters from mother-of-pearl, glued on wood panel, and applied lacquer finish. Transforming initial ideas into finished products always involved trial and error. However, every finished work added confidence in me to overcome the material limitations, and led me to a more audacious experimentation.

In oil painting, I can instantaneously capture an inspiration with quick strokes and later polish it with time. For lacquer products, however, such flexibility is not allowed. A complete design has to be preceded, and once the production begins, each step has to be executed with caliber. Some procedures are highly repetitive and require patience. 

The selected works for this exhibition portray ordinary objects of our everyday life. The two-dimensional flatness is emphasized with the use of monotone. Simplified expression, combined with the intrinsic depth of the material, produces surreal beauty. The pieces of my memory came together on the flat surface and formed a mosaic. Then they were solidified beneath the layers of lacquer. 

Regardless of the medium, an artwork contains the creator’s trajectory of life, and the world she has seen. We are influenced by other people and we sometimes encounter unexpected drama. These memories and events accumulate within the artist and emanate through different media. Art is a process of the originality taking form. 

I have an unyielding passion that pushes myself to the unknown world. Such adventurous mind and tenacious perseverance unwittingly led me to where I am today.  I express the utmost gratitude to those who helped me throughout. 

Kong, Sookja