Monday, February 15, 2016

The Magic of Art


“Through painting one can bring together all the different fractured moments
of the self into an authentic wholeness.”
JooYoung Choi

Like the world renowned writers JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis the Korean born American artist JooYoung Choi has created a world of her own invention which she depicts through painting and video rather than the written word. Choi’s paracosm The Cosmic Womb is an autobiographical narrative of the events and relationships that have shaped her life as an adopted Korean infant brought up by American parent’s in the Land of the Free.

As Choi says on her website “My paintings are based on an imaginary world that combines my personal story with the cultural influences of Korean and America with my love of pop culture… I feel that my own identity was challenged often as a person of Korean descent who only knew that of the American culture as a child. Furthermore, my paintings reflected the search for a true self that is beyond the simple terms of merely American or Korean, but rather, an authentic self that is an individual mixture of experiences.

Growing up in Concord, New Hampshire with only 0.2% of the population being Asian, Choi felt isolated and was very aware of being the “other”.

As she told the Huffington Post “Three years before I was adopted, the 1980 census stated that my hometown had about 60 Asian people in it, out of a population of about 30,400. I only knew a small handful of adopted people. Often I was reminded by other children that I looked 'different' or I was so 'weird'… As a child, I used popular media and art to make sense of my situation of feeling and looking so different than those around me.”

Reunited with her birth family and despite the language difficulties Choi forged a loving relationship with them in 2007 and 8. But the issues of “adoption, race, systemic oppression, loss and liberation” Choi said are still a major concern and subsequently influence were work.

Like the portrayal of her adoption agency ID number K833796 being broken up and assigned to her mythical character’s names that are associated with being a scientist, having the ability to morph into flowers or always wearing yellow.

As she explained to the Houston Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer "I wanted to take that from something negative to positive."

And whilst Choi’s backstory has dramatic overtones her paintings and videos have an unabashed hopeful perspective.

For as she says "Through art we have this magical power. We can change reality, re-wire how we feel about our past and maybe take back moments that were unresolved or never came to full vision."


Choi’s current exhibition Paracosmic Alchemy is on show at Houston’s Anya Tish Gallery until the 12th of March.


1 comment:

JooYoung Choi said...

Thank you for writing this :)