dokkebi


About Dokkebi (Korean goblin) paintings...   

Kurosawa’s film Dreams has a scene where a beautiful snow spirit drapes a fallen hiker with layer upon layer of shimmering fabric. Despite the warmth, these blankets of snow, fatigue and slumber, must be shaken off for the hiker to survive. Art historian Irving Lavin’s take on the Baroque drapery refers to another kind that separates the fictive from the real world, connecting the past with the present, like a curtain at a theater.  My recent paintings explore these different connotations of drapery as a subject. In one sense, it celebrates the simple beauty and the tradition of Korean brocades saved for special occasions, birthdays or New Year. Then the drapery transforms into mountains and oceans inhabited by creatures to suggest stories from the past eclipsing the present, such as the image of the victorious smile on an infamous dictator on top of Paektu Mountain, in North Korea.  Amy Chua of “The Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother” popularized the term 'tiger mom', conjuring an image of an ancient Chinese tiger embodying power and aggression. But in Korean folktales, tigers are portrayed to be strong but not clever. In every scenario, the tiger's gullibility and complacency undermine its physical prowess. Wesley Wang's essay in response to the 'tiger mom' phenomenon, aptly titled “Paper Tigers”, refers to these implications of the tiger to illustrate the Asian-Americans who study and work tirelessly to succeed, only to be halted by the social side effects of that valiant effort, being too obedient and compliant. In these paintings of wrapped, bundled, swathed landscape, stories of family, folklore and history unravel.



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