- Representative of female painters in Korea, living witness of the history of Korean galleries
|▲ Artist Seong Nak-ju|
Colors carry messages along with images. Swiss painter Paul Klee, known for his expressionist, cubist and surrealist works, once said, ※Color is the place where our thoughts and the universe meet.§ For the painter, color is the letter expressed on the picture, the notes that make up the music of the painting. Depending on how well colors are expressed, the message and emotion felt by the viewer will be different, and the sense of expressing color is one of the most important competencies of a painter. Pablo Picasso, the master who gave birth to the genre of Cubism, said, ※There are painters who turn the sun into yellow dots, and there are painters who, with their intellectual ability and artistry, turn yellow dots into the sun.§ There is also a painter in Korea who works with colors enough to transform a yellow dot into the sun. A magician of color who conveys joy through color and conveys the future! It is artist Seong Nak-ju.
A magician of color with color on the inside
Inspiration and freedom for the viewer
Seong Nak-ju is one of the first and second generations of Korean female painters representing the Korean art world. For more than 40 years, she has projected her inner world into her works, pioneering new artistic boundaries in abstraction. She has been recognized as a master of abstract painting by winning the 12th Grand Art Exhibition of Korea and taking her first step into the flower troupe and achieving a unique record such as winning the National Exhibition 5 times for her use of color in contrast.
Abstraction does not represent the concrete shape of an object, but rather as a figurative element such as points, lines, faces, and colors. By infusing the image with form or color, even if there is no clear appearance, the artist’s thoughts and feelings can be conveyed to the viewer. Her focus was on ‘color’. Through color, she reveals herself as it is. Her works are a piece of the emotions of life and the result of bringing out the unconscious nature. The colors that reflect the inner world make the viewer feel moved and free along with the message of artist’s past and present. She says, “We can only see the forms and colors created by the aesthetic emotions stimulated through the distinct forms of images due to the formation caused by the color body. I tried to express the emotions that come from the contrast between color and color, form and form, through the coincidence or mismatch of form and color, ignoring the conceptual knowledge of the drawing perspective or the object, as a complex mode of existence. All screen compositions are flat, so that the object is simplified and generative, giving it a vivid life.”
A living witness to the history of Korean galleries
May it be a joy to the people
The reason why she fell in love with abstraction was the rich texture and color. She has been fond of abstract and non-figurative painting since childhood and has long worked in textiles, modern embroidery, silkscreening, weaving, and dyeing. Influenced by her father, who loved abstract painting, she developed her artistic sense and hung around at the Bando Gallery, Korea’s first gallery. As such, she is a living witness to the history of Korean galleries.
She says “My work is like an inner diary of my life.” and she hopes people will feel moved and exulted through her works. Her works contain the passage of time, and they contain the true form hidden in the unconscious. Through this, her goal is for the artist and the audience to share time and space together and achieve joy and peace of mind. “The theme is the illusion and longing hidden in the depths where time has been deposited and hidden in the unconscious. By reliving the fragments of forgotten times, I want to share all memories with everyone.” Her works are in the collections of former President Park Chung-hee’s office, the White House during President Johnson’s presidency, the Daeseong Mobang Building, the Japan Overseas Development Company, the Songpa Women’s Center, and the Moran Museum of Art. She has sponsored dramas and won various awards such as the Grand Art Exhibition of Korea Special Award twice, the Runner-up Award 6 times, the Grand Prize of the Hansung Baekje Art Competition, the Concept Exhibition 3 times a year, and the New Art Award.
Her father contributed greatly to the development of culture and arts by donating numerous collections to Seoul National University Library and Sungkyunkwan Library. She traveled the world for many years, collecting rare sculptures and other items. She said she would like to open the sculptures to the public if she had the chance. An elder Western painter, she served as vice chairman of the Korea Art Association and became president of the National Exhibition Artist Association in 2022 to strengthen and develop ties between artists.