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Hakgojae Gallery
Breath and Brushstrokes
Abstract and figurative, The mixture of East and West in Song Hyun Sook’s artwork Song Hyun Sook’s artwork extensively features green and black tones. At once both powerful and delicate, her brushstrokes are mounted on backgrounds of seemingly infinite depth. They emit sentiments of loneliness, longing for things left behind, as to reflect the tender soul of the artist herself. Song Hyun Sook was born in a rural area in the Southern part of Korea. After graduating from high school in Kwangju, she left her home to work as a nurse in Germany in 1972. There, she often expressed her yearning for her family and home town through painting, and eventually entered the fine arts program at Hamburg University. In the search for her own style, she discovered tempera, a medium that had been used in medieval Europe. Made from eggs and pigment, tempera is water soluble and opaque. Song applies this paint onto canvas using stiff bristled paste brushes, which is a reminiscent of the Chosen Dynasty in premodern Korea, where they were used to paint pigment onto pottery. Featured in her paintings are wooden posts, corners of houses, pots, hanging ramie fabric, bamboo forests, and even figures. Her subjects vary, but her artwork consistently has a clear formation, which she simplifies surrealistically. Finished artwork is titled according to the number of brush strokes that were made in order to complete each painting. Lee Tae Ho, a professor of art history from Myongji University wrote, “Abstract and figurative, Korean paste brushes and medieval European tempera, the emotion of her brisk brushstrokes and the logic she uses to title her work- the successful use of such opposing features is the beauty and distinction of Song Hyun Sook’s artwork. The strength of her art is her ability to turn her longing into the energy that allowed the mixing of such contradicting aspects.” This exhibition displays around forty of Song Hyun Sook’s most characteristic pieces. Forms of posts, wells, houses, ceramic pots, painted one brushstroke at a time onto carefully crafted backgrounds that show the talent that has grown within her throughout her years. 
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