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originally published: 10/27/2022

Solo Exhibitions at the Riverside Gallery: Ga Kook-Hyun and Jung, Chul

Emotional Still Life, 51 x 51 inches, oil on canvas, 2022

(HACKENSACK, NJ) — Riverside Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Ga Kook-Hyun’s paintings, titled “Alchemy with Representation and Abstraction” in the first gallery space. The exhibition will run from November 1-14, 2022, with an opening reception on Saturday, November 5th, Saturday, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

It is said that Ga does not use references but makes use of imagination and vision from within to arrive at his imagery. This is why Ga titles his pieces “Emotional Still Life.” His flowers and vases are lushly painted in rich colors and with fine texture. The flowers do not exist in reality. Ga discovered water blister technique 8~9 years ago and began to feel that he is realizing his true vision 4~5 years ago; Ga believes that he is now undergoing a golden age as an artist, and he must carry on with the spirit of a master painter. Ga underwent many different styles and techniques before arriving at his current body of work. He chose the Korean porcelain as his main subject matter because, when he went to art fairs abroad, he realized that beauty that is quintessentially Korean is world-class.

By rigorously applying elaborate patterns of color to a “blank” form or space, Ga achieves visual depth and form abstract experiences and sensations that reach a meditative level. In this way, Ga appears to adopt a view that within nothing there is something at the infinitesimal scale, and something is a nothing within the infinitely large scale. The way Ga flattens form from three-dimensional perspective into flat shapes of symbolic and abstract roles is perhaps the main reason why Professor Byon argues that Ga’s works sit in an ambiguous state of abstraction and representation.

Unlike other artists who place their main subject in an environment of three dimensional space or interior, Ga puts his vases in an abstract and infinitely continuing space that simultaneously centers and de-centers the subject.

Ga Kook-Hyun graduated from Han-nam University’s Art Education department and attained his MFA from the Sejong University’s Painting department. He had a total of 38 solo exhibitions in Seoul, Daejon, Paris, and the Metropolitan area (NY), including Gallery Korea, Gallery Christine, Hyundai Art Gallery. He also participated in the Korea Art Fair, Seoul Art Show, and KIAF held at the COEX in Seoul in the past. He was a sold out artist at the Miami Art Fair in 2010, and he also participated in art fairs in France, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Solo Exhibitions at the Riverside Gallery: Ga Kook-Hyun and Jung, Chul

Energy Tuning, acrylic on canvas, 64 x 51 inches

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Jung, Chul will be exhibiting his abstract paintings in the second gallery space, titled “Energy Tuning.” Jung is a painter who uses abstract marks to make landscapes about the land and people’s relationship to it. Jung strives for a poetic kind of quality to the ephemeral and abstract marks that occupy the paintings as spatial or temporal regions, which the artist intends to be purely abstraction but borderlines representation due to their suggestive shapes or appearance. The title of the exhibition, “Energy Tuning,” could suggest the kind of energy that the land brings to its people in Eastern tradition.

In the previous series by Jung, Chul, its title, which is “The Land That I Want To Believe In,” suggests a sense of belief about a land and what it has to offer in terms of experiences and lives for the people. The concept of the “land” appears to be in an in-between state within nature and culture, breaking the binary opposition and its implied domination of culture over nature. The experience and life that Jung, Chul strives for is one of purity and balance, which is availed by the land that he resides in and wants to believe in. Jung, Chul equates nature’s essence to motherhood, which is a tremendous structure or being that is so big and deep and is a “lonely wound… that cannot dare to be expressed with words or through language” (artist statement). What is initially seen as a “shared impossibility,” according to the art critic KyungHan Hong , becomes a beginning that calls for reason in the other as a form of emulation, which Jung, Chul uses to “throw… up completely new things with reality as a substructure.”

In Jung, Chul’s abstract paintings, one can find connected sensibilities that can be paired as “longing and sadness, solitude and joy, despair and delight, nobleness and cheerfulness, heaviness and lightness, restriction and liberation, etc.” as “seeds” of the land that is cultivated by the people and the artist (metaphorically speaking). These elements activate the lyrical (poetic) elements in Jung, Chul’s works, and they become his painting language; even if people say Jung, Chul’s paintings are similar to Abstract Expressionism or has the same solid color as another artist’s style, they are not the same because of the lyrical and emotional elements or seeds mentioned.

Jung, Chul is a Korean artist who had more than 30 solo exhibitions and 300+ group exhibitions. He has a teaching career at the Chugye University for the Arts, Jungang University, and Hannam University. He participated at the KIAF, Seoul Art Fair, and several others. His works are in the permanent collectiosn of the the National Museum of Modern Art, the Korea Development Bank, KB Bank, Seoul Museum of Art, SK corporation, Daejeon Museum of Art, Navy Headquarters in Jeju, Joymaru, Daejeon Broadcasting Corp, and International Taekwondoon.

The Riverside Gallery is Located in The Shops at Riverside (Riverside Square) at One Riverside Square, Suite 201, Hackensack, New Jersey. Hours are 10:00am – 7:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday.