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19 Dec 2013

Focus Korea at Mindy Solomon Gallery

Wookjae Maeng // Camouflage Deer // 2013 // 9.4 x 11.8 x 20 inches // Porcelain and wood
Kang Hyo Lee // Buncheong Mountain: Water 1 // 2013 // 71 x 65 x 66 cm // Ceramic with ash glaze

Focus Korea: An Exhibition of Work by Kang Hyo Lee, Minkyu Lee, Sung-Jae Choi, Ree Soo-Jong, HunChung Lee, Wookjae Maeng, and Sungyee Kim
Mindy Solomon Gallery


Opening Reception Thursday, December 19th, 6-9pm Korean Spirits Tasting Sponsored by Gramps Bar at the Opening Exhibition December 20-January 23 Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm

Mindy Solomon Gallery

Mindy Solomon Gallery
172 NW 24th St.
Miami, FL 33127

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MIAMI, FL—Continuing to explore the implications of historical and contemporary Korean art, Mindy Solomon Gallery presents FOCUS KOREA, an introduction to tone and texture. A collection of new ceramic works and paintings by top Korean artists on the world market today appears in the exhibition, including: Kang Hyo Lee, Minkyu Lee, Sung-Jae Choi, Ree Soo-Jong, HunChung Lee, Wookjae Maeng, and Sungyee Kim. An Opening Reception will be held Thursday, December 19th, from 6:00-9:00pm. Gramps Bar will sponsor a Korean spirits tasting at the gallery during the Opening. The exhibition will be on view from December 20th through January 23rd. Mindy Solomon Gallery is located at 172 NW 24th Street, Miami.

Kang Hyo Lee presents contemplative abstract minimalism through traditional puncheong vessels, with creamy liquid surfaces and elegant sculptural forms. Lee epitomizes the elegance, simplicity, and historic significance that is emblematic of Korean puncheong ceramics. His masterful throwing skills translate to work that is timeless in design. Combining basic forms such as the moon jar, platter, water jar, and large-scale Onggi pot with expressive pure liquid white-slip, the energy conveyed in his works is rich as well as minimal. Born in 1961, Lee is widely regarded as one of the finest Korean potters working today. He has exhibited worldwide and his work is held in many important public and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Art Institute of Chicago, and International Ceramic Museum, Italy.

Minkyu Lee is a ceramic sculptor who focuses on defining the negative space in his works, encouraging contemplation from the viewer. His early body of work is said to be a continuation of Josun Dynasty porcelain ware, its forms and glazes, within the context of 5,000 years of Korean ceramic history. His early cast work is a series of vessel forms, in which Lee represents the forms' hidden structure. He actively shows his work in national and international exhibitions including San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, Contemporary Clay Biennial, Ceramic Space & Life, New York-Tokyo Friendship Ceramics Competition, 28th International Ceramics Competition of L'Alcora, 1st Jingzhe International Ceramics Exhibition, and Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Art Award.

Sung-Jae Choi makes contemporary vessels in the Korean tradition of buncheong ware (late 14th to late 16th century), and his works are a powerful evocation of Korean aesthetics. Most notably, his works demonstrate the lack of ostentation and liberal painting quality of pieces from this era. Sung-Jae Choi believes that the beauty of ceramics arises naturally in the process of dealing with the materials of clay and fire. When the surface of his pots has adequately dried, he applies white-slip and paints an image reminiscent of traditional ink and water painting. He employs twigs, bamboo shoots, millet stalks, and even his fingers as a brush. His simple forms are the ideal canvas for his bold, natural, and expressive paintings in clay. He is currently a professor at the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage. His works are included in the collections of museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and many more.

Ree Soo-Jong says of his pots, in his own words: 'My work happens through manual kneading of soil, showing its natural, raw aspects and calling for viewers' instant reflections on the work. Through the unification of soil and self, I intend to reach a primitive essence. The refreshing fascination with nature through soil provides an infinite sense of lifeforce, and also a positive significance to my own life. My work begins with the touching of soil. I think of myself as a very sensitive person who spends more time working rather than thinking; thus, I don't really care so much about the outcome of my works. Whatever it comes out to be, whether a jar or a human form, the important thing is not the result but rather the breath-like act of rubbing soil and my devotion toward it. It is undeniable that giving real significance to the act of creating itself provides the most delight and meaning for me.' He actively shows work and is collected in Korea and worldwide, including the Taipei City Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Museum of China, Casalgrande Padana Museum in Italy, and more.

Regarding his ceramics, HunChung Lee states: 'Travel is both the source and purpose of my work. Usually I travel into the past space and time of human beings through my eyes, heart, and work. In these travels, I bring a value to my humble existence as a member of the human race and my role in the Korean culture. The journeys are very sweet, but to taste this sweetness, travelers are required to overcome the unbearable pain of chaos and temptation of corruption which entices them like a mirage. For me, the world is like a swift current, while the inside of my body is calm pond. I can still remember vividly balancing on a seesaw [as a child]. Today, I enjoy the slow and calm balancing between the head and the heart, the swift current and calm pond...Playing on a seesaw, we cannot feel the subtle changes of the world without an effort to balance. Even the seesaw requires both tension and rhythm.' His work has been widely exhibited on an international scale, from Korea and Japan to Russia and Ireland, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and United States.

Having been brought up in urban South Korea, Wookjae Maeng has had profound experiences with wildlife during his stays in North America. 'The theme of my work is to represent the complex, ambiguous, and uncomfortable relationship between man and animal. Nature and animals have been an object of art for a long time. And, they will continue to be so until the fall of man, although the point of view is ever-changing. There are many living creatures on the earth. The human is on the top of the ecological pyramid now and can manage all kinds of fellow creatures. However, the environmental situation continues to worsen, and that tension is what I wish to explore.' In the long tradition of artists making work to communicate thoughts and feelings about the social issues of their time, Maeng hopes to effect 'small positive changes' by fostering interest and stimulation on this present-day concern. He holds two BFA and two MFA degrees, and has been honored with awards, exhibitions, and fellowships in Hungary, Denmark, Canada, and the US.

In her densely layered paintings, artist Sungyee Kim incorporates the principles of I Ching with the Taoistic pursuit of becoming one with material as in the Transformation of Things, the Buddhist concept of the whole universe within a single dust particle and the sword-polishing spirit of traditional metal-smiths. The result of these repetitive yet unique gestures of layering and erasing is an aesthetic residue which visualizes a consistent mind of self-cultivation. In both form and content, her paintings enact the coexistence of material presence and illusion, reflecting the inherent connectedness of microcosm and macrocosm. She says: ' The incomprehensiveness of nature is the reason why all questions and communications start. We do not have any plausible answer to what life is, but we cannot stop thinking and talking about it. A good artwork can only show the endeavor to reach the answer. Rather than pursuing the trend in expression of social and political stance, my paintings aim to hold the mirror up to our spirit like pure, plain and tranquil water. Ambiguity of structure requires active perception, which originates from a viewer's own desire but is also consistent with what I achieve. My paintings aim to achieve philosophical, spiritual understanding of order in nature via a visual art form.' Her work has been exhibited throughout Korea and the US.

Mindy Solomon Gallery is located at 172 NW 24th Street in Miami, Florida, open 11:00am-5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment; call 786-953-6917 or email for information.


Mindy Solomon Gallery specializes in contemporary emerging and mid-career artists. Represented works include painting, sculpture, photography, and video in both narrative and non-objective styles. Solomon also exhibits some of the most prestigious contemporary Korean artists on the world market. With an interest in client education, such as a collectors' tour to South Korea and regular artists' talks and VIP events, the gallery and its programs endeavor to showcase a unique and bold view of the international art world. Deeply interested in the intersection of art and design, Ms. Solomon and her team collaborate with designers, advisors, consultants and curators to inform and integrate fine works of art as part of a greater aesthetic. One of only six galleries in Florida to be included in 'Top 500 Galleries Worldwide' in the Louise Blouin Media Modern Painters 2013 Annual Guide, Mindy Solomon Gallery participates in many prestigious art fairs, including Art Miami during Basel's Art Week Miami Beach, Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair in Mexico City, VOLTA NY, and Shanghai Contemporary.

The mission of the Mindy Solomon Gallery is to present the highest caliber works from emerging and mid-career artists in a broad spectrum of media. With a focus on context and the interconnectedness of material, Mindy Solomon and her staff approach the client/artist relationship with an interest in education and visual empowerment.