Park Dae-sung’s ink-and-wash paintings on show in US

Contemporary artist Park Dae-sung paints “Mount Geumgang in Winter” at his studio in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. (Gana Foundation for Arts and Culture)

An overseas exhibition on Korea’s ink-and-wash paintings is set to highlight the dramatic yet tranquil power that exists in the medium of ink.

“Park Dae-sung: Ink Reimagined” is scheduled to open at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, from Saturday to March 19, 2023.

A total of 23 ink-and-wash painting and calligraphy pieces will be on display, many of which are being shown for the first time in the US.

The contemporary Korean ink-and-wash artist is known to have expanded the scope of the traditional Korean arts, retaining the traditional styles while reinterpreting landscapes with his modern brushstrokes and technical finesse.

Park Dae-sung's works in the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, ahead of the opening of

Park Dae-sung’s works in the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, ahead of the opening of “Park Dae-sung: Ink Reimagined.” “Bulguksa Temple in Winter” is seen on the left wall. (Gana Foundation for Arts and Culture)

“Park’s audacity lies in his ability to fully absorb and embrace traditional East Asian brush and ink painting,” noted John Stomberg, director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth.

Park, born in 1945, lost both his parents and his left arm during the Korean War. The self-taught artist then turned to paintings and calligraphy, exploring nature, landscape, birds and animals as his inspiration.

“Heaven, Earth and Human” (2011) by Park Dae-sung (Gana Foundation for Arts and Culture)

“In his work, ‘Heaven, Earth and Human’ depicting cliffs of Mount Geumgang, the dynamic energy comes through his powerful brushstrokes, the colors and texture, and the sheer size of the art piece,” said Kim Sung-lim, an associate professor of art history at Dartmouth, in an email interview with The Korea Herald. Kim curated the exhibition.

“The drone-like perspective — what Park calls a ‘hawk-eye view’ — pulls the viewers into the cliffs.”

In another piece, “Flower Rain” portraying birds floating on a lake amid scattering pink petals brings delicate harmony with dark roof tiles in the background, explained Kim.

“Magnificent View of Samneung,” another monumental piece depicting Park’s garden in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, is also on display.

“Visitors will see two contrasting characters in his sensitive bird and still life works, long hand scroll calligraphy and bold, energetic, and gigantic landscapes,” she added.

This is the first exhibition of Korean art at the Hood Museum.

“Frieze Seoul and Kiaf made a big splash earlier this month, establishing South Korea as the region’s next major art market. Stateside, there is an important moment happening in Korean contemporary art as well,” said Meg Blackburn in charge of public relations at the museum.

Kim also said she noticed a gradually increasing interest in Korea and its arts and culture, noting that about 80 to 90 percent of students currently taking her classes related to Korean art are non-Korean students.

The 77-year-old artist will discuss his work as a Dr. Allen W. Root Contemporary Art Distinguished Lectureship at the Hood Museum of Art on Nov. 3. The event is open to the public.

Another exhibition of Park’s works, “Park Dae-sung: Ink and Soul,” is currently running at the Korea Institute at Harvard University through Dec. 8.

At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, eight of Park’s works are on show at “Park Dae-sung: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush,” which runs until Dec. 11.

More of his work can be seen at exhibitions at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University in New York and the University of Mary Washington in Virginia scheduled to open next year.

By Hwang Dong-Hee ([email protected])


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