Artist’s statement

by Insook Hwang / 2008


I believe that art should be something more than material and I intend to present something spiritual and joyful through my art. My intent with art is to share this happy and lively energy impregnated in my own unique forms with the viewer.


For over 6 years, up until 2005, I’ve dealt with the violent aspects in the industrial civilization as my subject matter. Combining techniques from drawing, stamping and painting I have created various techniques of cloning and produced an idiosyncratic style of digital drawings. Most of the works in this period are grotesque and very dynamic: The images of robot like creatures were composed from the repetitive accumulation of symbols of violence (mechanical images of weapons and surveillance devices, and organically abstracted cartoon-like images of fists and guns).


Since 2005, my personal experiences: an independent study of the old eastern philosophy of Ying-Yang and meditation naturally drove me to change the subject matter of my work from being serious and direct to being delightful and subtle. My relocation from South Korea to U.S.A in 2006 accelerated the fresh changes in my art both in form and content. Over the past two years the images in my works has become lighter and more playful. The symbols of violence have been replaced by a more simplified counterpart; that of computer technology (balls and molecular shapes of electron, eyeballs, cubes of monitor, tubes, telescopes and pipes). The previous black and white dominated drawings resembling a mixture of the old eastern landscape paintings and huge cartoon cutouts covering up entire gallery walls has transformed into a very intriguing installation composed of collaborating drawings and soft sculptures filled with cartoon like images and playful colors.


In my recent work, the imaginative creatures composed of various abstract symbols represent the dynamic and ubiquitous characteristics of ‘the web’ (internet technology) as a living organism. The images of eyeballs symbolize human beings closely interacting with other living creatures (machines), molecular shapes covered with beautiful patterns and texts representing electronic messages traveling around space. The distinctive characteristics of my work lie in the repetitive and unexpected playful combinations of, and between abstract forms.


For these recent works, I used a unique combination of techniques of new media (digital imaging and printing) and traditional media (free hand drawing, painting, stamping with self carved rubber stamps, sewing and collage). When creating forms digitally, I use each small symbol as unit of cell, cloning and combining them together with slightl changes in their form. The elements of my installation function just like a child’s toy blocks which are easy to assemble and dissemble. The resulting forms of collaboration vary according to my intuition toward the intended space.


In my installations, there is no separation between each individual piece; the illusion of drawn or printed images and the physicality of sculptures are merged into one transforming the specific space into another place. In this new space, viewers are no longer simple viewers, they are welcomed as my guest and become part of my work as they don’t just passively walk through but weaves through and interacts with my space, my futuristic shrine.