Blum & Poe in Los Angeles is presenting an exhibition that focuses on the work of Korean artists Chung Sang-hwa and Shin Sun-Hy. While they are both important Korean artists from the 20th century onwards, this will be the first major presentation in Los Angeles to highlight their work.

The selection of works by Chun Sang-hwa includes pieces from throughout his career. Early on he was part of the Art Informal movement (while often thought of as a European movement it was also prevalent in Korea). Some of these early works feature brilliant colors and gestural marks; for those familiar with his work this may come as a bit of a surprise since he is primarily known for his monochromatic paintings. He was, after all, part of the Dansaekhwa Movement, which literally translates to monochromatic movement. These early paintings provide an insight into his development as an artist.

The end result is that the viewer confronts the canvas itself as an integral part of the work, and not something to be primed for a two-dimensional image.

Sarah McMillan

Also included in the exhibit are his iconic scraped paintings, in which he developed a technique of painting acrylic layers on the front of the canvas, then scoring the reverse to disfigure the facade. By removing the color from the canvas, texture becomes the subject of the work.

Chung Sang-hwa
Work B-6, 1970
Acrylic on jute
64 3/4 x 52 1/4 x 1 3/8 inches framed

This forms a natural progression to the work of Shin Sung-Hy as he approaches the act of creating a painting as if he were creating a sculpture. The artist is known for developing a knotting technique in which the canvas is painted on both sides, ripped apart and reknotted. The final effect is that it takes on a sculptural quality. The brilliant colors of the pieces contrast the bright white of Chun Shang-hwa’s work, but the focus in all the paintings is texture.

Chung Sang-hwa
Work 4-5, 1972
Acrylic on canvas
64 3/8 x 51 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches framed

To hang these artists together in single show highlights how they used the canvas as a three-dimensional object. Both artists manipulated multiple sides of it to achieve their desired effect. The end result is that the viewer confronts the canvas itself as an integral part of the work, and not something to be primed for a two-dimensional image.

The show is on view at Blum & Poe Los Angeles from November 3, 2018 – January 12, 2019.

– Sarah McMillan

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