My work begins as an image in my mind and it develops into a story by blending my life experiences into it. Since a young age, I have been influenced by construction sites that I have never been able to escape – in South Korea, United States, Europe, and now Singapore. Everywhere I moved, fences would be created to separate the inside and outside. Although this is the intent, human interaction with nature will always exist no matter the separation. My works show this interaction and our quest to reach harmony. It is similar to Taoism, which takes harmony and co-habitation as its philosophical cornerstone. At the present moment, I am interested in mixing the process of demolition-reconstruction and Eastern philosophy (philosopher Zhuāngzǐ) related to human organs and the concept of the root.
One way this is communicated is through installations, in which individuals enter the depths of my emotions through an architectural space. In the installation, a silent conversation emerges between the physical space and the participant who maps his or her own experiences onto my own.
Another way to express my thoughts and emotions is through my paintings. The communication starts with the process. To create my paintings, I use an intricate process of first drawing on canvas, then layering with sheer silk paper, drawing and painting on the silk, and then layering again until an ideal balance between line and color is achieved. This process is important because I use the invisible spaces or gaps that exist between the layers of silk. The silk also envelops the canvas and adds a textured look and feel to the painting. Conceptually, my artistic process alludes to the veiled identities people construct of themselves, and suggest the most vibrant parts of a person, his or her personality and emotions, exist within the gaps. One must dig deep into the art to understand its essence, like the root that is not easily seen inside the earth.
The concept of layered experience is a strong thematic element that I have recently explored in greater depth through painting. My current work focuses on the relationships between human functions and the classical elements of earth, wind, water, and fire. For example, when I was painting, I was thinking about the experience of playing instruments. The entire body must be involved in sound production. The breath of a body needs to be in perfect harmony, in order for the instrument to function. In the painting, blood within a body needs to circulate much like the earth moves wind and water. However, the same wind and water that creates magnificence can also be chaotic and destructive. In the painting, I explore how natural harmonies within the atmosphere and body are essential for the earth, and how the same elemental balances make the artwork function.