Park's exhibit explores liminality

by Jenny Che | 11/28/10 11:00pm

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by Alice Zhao and Alice Zhao / The Dartmouth

In her artist's statement about the exhibit, Park wrote that she aims to explore properties of geometry and abstract mathematics through various structures and patterns. Indeed, the pieces in the exhibit are constructed from simple materials with muted tones primarily smooth metal and plastic in silver, black, white or gray thus drawing attention on the complexity of her structures rather than the substrate used.

For one structure, "Mending Infraction," Park cites light as a material used in the work. The structure, composed of tall strips of metal twisted into elliptical and wave shapes, fills one entire end of the gallery and glows white under the harsh lights. The light creates movement in the piece, and as viewers stand in place it seems to expand and retract constantly like a billowing wind.

"The process I employ is both scientific and intuitive," Park wrote. "My time is spent researching physical and idealized space, and how they create a liminal interstitial engaging space."

In a July interview with art historian Jan Garden Castro, who wrote the brochure for the exhibit, Park defined liminality as "the space between the physical mental worlds straddling both sides of a divide, bringing two things together." In a liminal space, the idea of a constant self-identity melts away in the presence of an open mind a concept found in each work in the exhibit.

Liminality is represented through Park's interpretations of light and space.

"To me, light represents infinity, endlessness or a core you can't see since you can't look into the center of the sun or a bright bulb," Park told Castro.

Park described the bright light one sees upon opening one's eyes after closing them for a long period.

"This is my idea of a void: a white, translucent space," she said in the interview.

Park's installations defy traditional sculptural conventions through their inclusion of abstract, intangible themes. For instance, the logical, scientific structural elements of her pieces capture light in systematic ways, contrasting with the overall structures' polished and romantic feel.

Interestingly, although Park's works deal with intangible themes light and space the structures themselves are in fact quite tangible. Grand and structural, they are incredibly modern expressions of subjects that transcend time. Each installation piece is fully present, occupying significant amounts of physical space.

In one work, "Refraction Drawing on Table," a physical object blends together with a visual representation drawings by Park of the figure. In order to create this piece, Park set a clear twisted and frayed graphite structure on a table, creating sharp, acute shadows. Those shadows are then emphasized with charcoal on the same table: shapes are elongated and dramatized in white and black, creating constant motion within the structure itself.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Park moved to the United States when she was 11 years old and grew up in Georgia and Orlando, Fla. She later received degrees in painting and sculpture from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, and from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has also worked in St. Louis, Mo., as an installation artist and as a lecturer at Washington University.

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