YoungHee Woo is a classically educated artist, whose paintings weave collectively reality, fantasy, and goals. Every single 1 of her paintings invites the viewer to discover a mysterious earth, reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch, Max Ernst, or Frida Kahlo. Woo states that her significant source of inspiration is the concept of interconnectedness of life and loss of life procedures. Scrutiny of this query yields her intriguing, often mesmerizing functions.

The artist often brings together features of landscape, however life, and portrait in 1 piece. Although she attributes every single of these features a loaded symbolic worth, she leaves these symbolic narratives open up to interpretation. In “The Irresistible,” for illustration, she divides the canvas into a nighttime scene by a lake on the suitable, and a woman portrait on the left. The lady wears a form of dwelling-fowl-headdress, though an additional magical animal gazes at the viewer from deep inside the portray. In the foreground, nevertheless an additional mysterious creature carries an hourglass on its back again. The peculiar human-like determine that retains the hourglass is painted with an additional torso the place there really should be legs. Although the hourglass is an age-outdated memento mori, the determine suggests an inability to go. Is the passage of time, then, only illusory? Or is this determine crippled and inhibited by time? These are some of the queries the viewer will inevitably question when thinking about 1 of YoungHee Woo’s paintings.

The Irresistible, 2017 | Oil on Canvas | 36″ x 46″

What captivated you to portray?

I cherished drawing due to the fact I was a youngster, and was remarkable at it. Naturally, I had a obscure desire that I would be a painter. As I grew up, so did my desire. It was fascinating that I could keep a report of the things I wished to express. Later on, I wished to paint ‘good paintings’, in my personal style, and life without having portray turned meaningless.

What is your process? Do you paint speedily, or perform on every single piece for a very long time? Do you make preparatory drawings or “invent” your portray on the location?

Previously in life, I had chosen swift rigorous paintings. Not all the perform is accomplished with a preparatory sketch. These times I make 30% of preparatory drawings and 70% is accomplished on the canvas. My process can take a very long time for the reason that of modifications and portray over.

Every single of your paintings is made up of a story. What inspires these narratives?

I have cherished looking through due to the fact I was youthful. I delight in contemplation, and I’m often dropped in wild fancies. The sensibilities fashioned by this process impact me in my perform. Scribbling in a sketchbook and gazing on the canvas lead me to the metaphoric figures that supply the concept I want to express. Often the scenes from my goals also help and I often project my ego on to animals. You can say I rely on trans-subconsciousness.

Could you give an illustration of how a unique portray came into getting, for illustration, “The Irresistible,” or “In Actuality, a Monodrama”?

In Actuality, a Monodrama, 2015 | Oil on Canvas | 24″ x 24″

“The Irresistible” demonstrates what I realized by means of all the time I have lived. The fowl masking my eyes to shield me from the difficulties of life is my desire, my totem, and also my change ego (which I want to evade). But nevertheless difficult I battle, I’m tangled in the chains of life’s trials. This is a little something 1 cannot resist. “In Actuality, a Monodrama” is about how on the outdoors we may appear in a specific way depending on what purpose we play inside various social constructions and establishments. But this is a kind of mask that we put on, in buy to fit inside the natural environment that surrounds us. We are, right after all, all by itself.

Your titles are often rather mysterious. They seem to be to insert to the now surreal high-quality of the artwork rather than demonstrate them. How do you arrive up with these titles?

My sensibilities and my track record in literature lead to my titles. I like to insert a tiny bit of mystique on to the concept of the portray.

It looks that many of your paintings may possibly refer to myths, goals and the earth of the subconscious for illustration, “The Shared Tale of Two Women.” If so, could you remember to elaborate?

I’m captivated to the mystique of the mythical earth. It tends to make the mundane everyday life pleasant and vitalizes my functioning process. “The Shared Tale of Two Women” is a portray that re-established the story of a fantasy desire I had 1 evening. There was no 1, the floor was included with round grey rocks. The objects imagined to be rocks rose and turned into seals as I improved my path in buy to move them by. Even now, there ended up countless rocks ahead of me… The lady who is likely to plant a sapling is a lady with a desire. She believes in a straightforward, pure, vivid way of the earth. The soaring animals depict what she does not nevertheless know. They are beings that however battle in a rough earth. The lady who returns with potent buffalo horns on her head is an additional apparition of the similar woman but improved over time. She seems to be armed to the tooth, but in the end, what she is sporting is a corset: a little something that suffocates females. We don’t know if she chose to put on it or she was pressured to. The concept is the limitation of human will.

The Shared Tale of Two Women, 2018 | Oil on Canvas | 24″ x 48″

In your artist statement, you generate that the marriage between loss of life and life is a concept of significant significance for you. Is there a little something about portray that grasps and interprets this concept significantly well?

My ideas about life and loss of life are what influences my paintings. The other way all-around, I’m not absolutely sure about it. I just cannot are living without having portray.

You are specialized in Western portray. What was your concentration inside the Western custom and what captivated you to these artists? Who are your favorites?

If Japanese culture is static, Western culture is dynamic. I go through functions of fascinating classical Western literature due to the fact I was youthful. Textbooks like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey captivated me to the earth of cost-free expression by means of the medium of oil portray. Later on the soul of Indigenous People and their ideas on mother nature, the non-possessive life-style of the Gypsies, and the Nomads who facial area life as vacationers and acknowledge loss of life captured my heart. You may differentiate Japanese and Western custom as static and dynamic, but I could find the common denominator.
I was spiritually affected by Virginia Woolf, Ingeborg Bachmann, and T.S. Eliot. My favored painters are Egon Schiele, Francis Bacon, and Remedios Varo.

YoungHee Woo student
YoungHee Woo and her early functions

Are there artists or movements inside the Japanese historical past of art that have also affected your perform?

The 5000-12 months-historical past of Korea commenced with Gojoseon. The founder of Gojoseon, Dangun, favored the principle of humanitarianism. One particular of our historic burial practices was to depart the useless human body to be weathered and just are living with the continues to be. In other words and phrases, folks lived in harmony with the life and loss of life process, so it was not essential to distinguish them. Thus, the cycle of coming from mother nature and likely back again to it is what I have uncovered the natural way, and that is the major concept of my paintings.

Is there a way in which these two distinct ways to making art—the Western and the Japanese traditions—meet in your portray?

The overall movement that completes my perform, the non secular earth, delivers this second of integration.

Gathering art is a highly involving and emotional encounter. The artist’s process and intention are some of the components that make 1 drop in really like with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ resourceful strategies and fascinating techniques in the Middle Phase and Artist Strategies classes.

YoungHee Woo’s brightly coloured, fantastical and whimsical functions will be on view at Agora Gallery from September 21 by means of October 11, 2018. Look at all of YoungHee’s functions for sale on her ARTmine web site and go through more about her on her Agora Profile.

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