~ 2023 ~
Namhi Kim Wagner Memorial Exhibition
June 17 - July 1
LexArt, 130 Waltham St. Lexington, MA
The Wagner Family and Korean Cultural Society of Boston are pleased to present Namhi Kim Wagner’s Retrospective Exhibition in memory of her passing at the age of 99 in March 2023. The exhibition will feature delicate plates with vibrant stamped patterns, swelling jars encircled with floral carving, and large bowls overflowing with big happy fish and lotuses.
Born in Korea, raised in Japan, and returning to Korea after the first marriage, Namhi lived through both World War II and the
Korean War. Widowed at age 35 with three young children, she emigrated to the United States to work at the Harvard Yenching Library, later becoming the first Director of the Korean Language Program at Harvard.
At age 48, she found her deep passion for ceramics. First studying briefly at the MIT Pottery Studio and then joining the Harvard Ceramics Program Studio (formerly Radcliffe), she was an artist-in-residence there from 1997-2004. Often teaching all day and staying up all night to master ceramic techniques, it was in rediscovering her own roots that led her to truly find her own voice. Here, her resilient spirit found expression in her modern interpretation of the dynamic yet playful style of 15-16th century Korean Buncheong ware.
I discovered my own voice as well as my roots by exploring the expressive possibilities of the Korean Buncheong tradition in my pots. Buncheong could not be more Korean, down-to-earth, unpretentious, and exuberant. It is the unfettered spontaneity and rhythmic grace of Bungheong ware that I love most. Stamps are impressed randomly all over the surface and lines are incised freely. The patterns appear to be disorganized and yet they coalesce into a vibrant harmony. It warms my heart and makes me smile to look at some pieces that appear to be have been made by a child—so innocent charming and natural. —Namhi Kim Wagner
Always an educator, Namhi was also instrumental in sharing the rich history of Korean ceramics with the greater Boston community through her own entertaining presentations at major museums and studios and by acting as a translator for visiting artists. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Korea and is in the collections of the Harvard Museums and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Recollecting Afterimages: Portrait of Survivors
New Art Center of Newton (July 16 - August 31)
245 Walnut St, Newton, MA
Curated by Sun Jung
Sponsored by Boston Cultural Council
~ 2022 ~
The role of art in times of war raises fundamental questions about our existence as humans. This exhibition, Recollecting Afterimages: Portrait of Survivors, depicts the life of survivors of violence through self- portraits: both representational and non-representational.
Self-portraits capture the gaze toward the outer world as well as the inner world of the subject, therefore containing initial understandings and compassion of our existence after violence. The exhibition is an attempt to creating a space where the eyes of the artist and the eyes of the audience can communicate, empathize, and restore the relationship of members of one community.
Part of the exhibition consists of a virtual exhibition showcasing artworks of four invited artists:
Samuel Bak, Kwang Lee, Sun-cheol Kwun, Herman
Born in Vilna, Poland in 1933, Samuel Bak is a Lithuanian-American painter and writer who survived the Holocaust. Bak’s work weaves personal and historical memories together and constructs the twentieth-century ruination of Jewish life and culture. Creating the images of a destroyed world that are partially repaired and went on to exist, he questions the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust in a way he stubbornly observes human potential for reconciliation and reconstruction.
The virtual exhibition can be visited on the right.
In Search of a Portrait B
Born in 1970 in Korea, Kwang Lee currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She studied painting at the Hong-Ik University, Seoul, and received an MFA in Fine Arts from Düsseldorf Art Academy under the supervision of Prof. Markus Lüpertz. Combining Eastern philosophy with European abstract painting, Kwang explores existential questions like pain, death, and the human spirit and experiments with vibrant colors and dynamic brushstrokes on reflections of the truth behind appearances.
Bin-zip, an old lady
Kwun Sun-cheol is a Korean painter who was born in Changwon, Korea in 1944. In 1971, he studied painting at the Seoul National University, Seoul, where he began making Self-portrait series. Working on human figures and landscapes, he captures historical memories from the Japanese annexation and the Korean War. Abstract concepts like traces of time and the emotions of individuals are transformed into the visual subject matter of faces and landscapes, which can be positioned on the border between figurative and abstract.
Bruce Herman is a Massachusetts-based artist, writer, and professor. He has been teaching and curating exhibitions at Gordon College since 1984. Herman’s artwork reflects his personal journey of creativity and faith, involving a profound understanding of Western history, philosophy, and culture. Starting from his large-scale religious narrative paintings in the late 1970s, he works on the human figures in central, which evokes real presence as a means of genuine communication, referencing the sacred worship tradition of the Christian Eucharist.
O Sacred Head: Crowning
~ 2021 ~
Artist Talk series on Korean Arts
Moderated by Prof. Sunglim Kim, who specializes in pre-modern and early 20th-century Korean art and culture. Her research interests include the rise of consumer culture in late Chosŏn dynasty and the role of the professional nouveau riche, the so-called chungin (middle people) in the production, distribution, collection, and consumption of art in 18th and 19th century Korea; artistic exchanges among China, Korea, and Japan; the shaping of images of Korea and her people during the Japanese colonial period; and the use of visual space as political tool in modern and contemporary Korea.
May 8 – Joomchi (Traditional Korean Paper)
Jiyoung Chung is Joomchi artist, freelance writer, and independent curator. She has developed an innovative method for utilizing a traditional Korean method of papermaking called Joomchi. In Jiyoung’s hands, the ancient takes on a more contemporary appearance. The Hanji (Korean mulberry paper) reveals itself as a painterly, abstract and contemporary art form filled with sculptural and textural imagery.
symposium recording: https://youtu.be/D7MjiNq1JRM
May 15 – Korean Shamanism
Yoahn Han applies contemporary techniques to native Korean themes often inspired by Korean shamanism. One of such themes is a flower-decorated bier used in traditional funeral rituals in Korean villages. Surprisingly, the bier is decorated with vivid floral and fauna patterns. It looks rather festive and extravagant. People in the village deliver the dead body to the grave using this bier. From the ritual’s initiation to its finale, the role of box is to transport the body between the world of the living to the world of the unknown. Parallel to bier, a flower palanquin carries bride from her birth family to her husband in the traditional marriage ceremony in Korea. This ritual is symbolic of a transition from one life to another. The funeral bier is for the continuation of life and the wedding palanquin is for the farewell to life. But both boxes share a common thread as well: they both confine. The confined party does not complete the metamorphosis from one life to the other until the ritual is over.
symposium recording: https://youtu.be/8HKOeoEc6yk
May 22 – Minwha (Folk Arts)
Seongmin Ahn takes Asian traditional painting as starting point and transforms it into something experimental with her own interpretation bridging tradition and contemporary, and East and West.
symposium recording: https://youtu.be/Y_6r632IATg
May 29 – Fiber Art
Chung-Im Kim was inspired by bojagi (Korean traditional wrapping cloth) and creates her own Fiber Art, reminiscent of her happiness in earlier years in Korea. Ramie and hemp were widely used in Korea in the past for summer clothing and bedding for their natural coolness and subtle paper-like texture. Their unusual stiffness also allowed Chung-Im to revisit the textile heritage in a more playful, collage-like manner in some of her work.
symposium recording: https://youtu.be/-iH8-HiWP0w