Regeneration #2, on view at the Datz Museum of Art
This October, I traveled to Seoul, South Korea for an exhibition of my work at the Datz Museum of Art, called Journey of Transformation. I was not prepared for how profound this trip would be for me as an artist. It moved me in layers. The first layer was seeing the installation at the museum.
You enter the Datz Museum through a courtyard filled with growth and whimsy. Potted plants fill a corner. A fountain, designed to echo the one at the San Francisco Art Institute, anchors the center. A pale blue cabinet of curiosities adorns one wall. Each detail coalesces to imbue the space with charm and creative possibility.
Here you turn left to enter the Museum through two wooden doors. A board-formed concrete wall creates a vestibule. On that wall hangs my piece Regeneration #2,exquisitely printed by Datz Press, so that the feather seems three-dimensional. Across from it is a stunning work by Bryant Austin, one of three other artists in the exhibit. From here you travel into the first gallery where Bryant’s large prints of whales and the sun run like a spine down the center of the room. As a counterpoise to the bold drama of Bryant’s prints, is the quiet but powerful string of 4 x 5 inch gelatin silver prints by Hendrik Paul, detailing subtleties of the natural world. Facing this work, on the opposite wall is an aerial perspective of the earth – images by Minny Lee that document her journey from East to West by airplane. The earth’s topography creates rich abstractions.
At the end of this expansive space, you turn right into a smaller room hung with nine prints from my Sanctuary series, installed with ample room to breathe. To the left is an alcove with windows facing the trees, whose branches reflect off the glass of several more prints by Hendrik and Minny. Returning to the room filled with Sanctuary, you notice a gap in the wall, a doorway into a dimly lit room. Once inside, the space is womb-like, painted dark gray, and lit only by spotlights shining on each of the 9 small collages from my Invocation series. This was an epiphany for me to see my work so cleverly installed. Wall color and spotlighting allowed the meaning in these pieces to expand beyond their frames and fill the entire space with darkness and wonder.
I created these nine mixed media collages specifically for the Datz Museum. Named Incantation, all together they speak of the power of surrendering to the darkness and the unknown. Only then can the unexpected blessing of the feather arrive. Each piece is also inscribed with a handwritten blessing or quote (sometimes hidden), as a reminder that the right words at the right time can open, create magic, and even heal.
As you exit this gallery and enter the light again, you find a bowl full of scrolls tied in red ribbon. These are offered as a gift for each visitor. Inside is an image of my collage, Blessing #3, and one of several quotes (typed in both Korean and English) that has inspired me in my creative work. I am so grateful to the Datz Museum staff for keeping the bowl full so that visitors may take home a bit of inspiration with them.
I picked one at random to share here:
“Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” – Mary Oliver
I stand still today, astonished and grateful to Sangyon Joo, Kwan Hoon, Ming Jung, and all the others at the Datz Museum and Press for making this exquisite exhibition possible.
Journey of Transformation is on exhibit through February 24, 2019 at the Datz Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea. You can view more installation photographs at www.datzmuseum.org.