Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kwon In-su expresses life force in poppies

Pink, purple and blue petals spread softly on “hanji,” traditional Korean mulberry paper, and subtle pistil and stamens in yellow are set in the middle of the flower, for Kwon In-su’s paintings of poppies are full of liveliness.

The Korean painter is holding his eighth solo exhibition at Insa Art Center in Seoul through Tuesday. The gallery is filled with energy emitting from large poppies on the wall.

Kwon graduated from Seoul National University, majoring in art, and earned his master’s degree at Hongik University. He mainly draws nature, such as trees and flowers. Poppies attracted Kwon’s attention ever since he once saw one on a hillside. Since then, he has been capturing the vivid flowers in Oriental paintings.

This exhibition, subtitled “The Moment I Fall in Love,” features some 40 of his newest works, showing the glamorous yet dreamlike beauty of the flower.

“The longer I looked at the beauty, the profound harmony of the petals wrapped around its body and the stamens and pistil, which are the roots of life, were enough to be a seduction that I could not reject,” Kwon said in an artist’s note. “When I draw the inspiration I get from poppies, I realize that I am just a part of nature as well.”

He uses traditional painting materials, “meok” (Korean ink) and Oriental colors. The Korean materials are in delicate harmony with Kwon’s modern sensitivity and the poppies on hanji are pure and elegant.

Park Young-taek, an art critic and professor of Kyonggi University, said Kwon borrows the figures and colors of the poppy.

“The flowers are painted based on the artist’s intention but also as results of the laws of nature and contingency. Invisible powers like the structure and characteristics of the paper, water-solubility, infiltration, coagulation, the laws of time and gravity enabled the works,” Park said. “In the paintings, the artist’s intention and contingency coexist.”

Park said the flowers in Kwon’s paintings are not simply a subject or a plant. “They are mirrors of the artists’ inner mind, media for them to express their aesthetic stages, and tools to realize their creative worlds,” the critic said.

The paintings tune the contrast of strong colors, the sense of space dealing with the blanks, the force of a single figure attracting people’s eyes and the tension between yin (figure) and yang (blank), Park said. “In the center of all of that, a poppy flower blossoms,” he went on to say. “A life is born and grows, trembling in overflowing emotions, just like Kwon’s poppies.”

The exhibition runs through Aug. 23. For more information on the exhibition, visit www.insaartcenter.com or call (02) 736-1020.

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