June Kelly Gallery

Su Kwak Bio

An exhibition of new paintings by Su Kwak, energetic abstract work that focus on her continuing preoccupation with phenomena of light in its physical and spiritual senses, will open at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on September 6. The exhibition, entitled Light Cycle, will remain on view through October 8.

Kwak, who has lived in the United States since coming here from South Korea as a young adult remains steadfast in her mission to grasp the link between art and spirituality.  Kwak approaches her paintings with a humility born of an awareness of the difficulty of each.  Her paintings are like developing an intuitive apprehension, the third eye, and the opening to beauty that engenders the serenity and calm needed for healing and survival.

Kwak’s current body of work, less sculptural than earlier canvases with deep cutouts to multi-layered surfaces, appears more intensely serene, yet effectively characterized with vigorous rhythmic circular sources of light (Embrace of Light, 2018).  Kwak use of light and energetic circling line enables her to move beyond a physical interpretation of light and towards a dynamic spiritual expression symbolic of the invisible soul (Light Rays, 2018).

Kwak seeks to present concepts and feelings in a tangible physical form and not just report or record the immediacy of what the eye sees.  She aims to capture in material form that which she has experienced internally in the heart. Toward this end, as written in an exhibition catalog of her work, she employs the style of Abstract Expressionism closely related to East Asian ink painting traditions in restricted color range, calligraphic imagery, aggressive and rapid brushwork, asymmetrical composition and gestural methods of action painting.

Yet Kwak’s art differs from the “unspoken metaphysical monumentality of monochrome paintings by her predecessors in abstract art.”  “When experience is filtered through memory,” Kwak says, “everything but the essential falls away.  The forms and colors of my paintings are simple for this reason.  They are the essence of my experience.  By using essential, simplified forms, I try to express a universal meaning that transcends specific of culture and time.”

Kwak lives and works in Washington, DC. She received a bachelor’s degree in art from The University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

Kwak has participated in many one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Korea. She is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Indiana; Jordan Schnitzer University of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene; Busan Metropolitan Museum of Art, South Korea; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwachon, Korea; Gwangju City Museum, South Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; Asian American Arts Centre, New York; Korean Embassy, Washington, DC, and Hale and Dorr, Washington, DC.

 

Born in Busan, Korea
Lives and works in Washington, DC

Education
1979 MFA, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1977 BA, The University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX

Selected Solo Exhibitions
  2019 Su Kwak: Light Cycle, June Kelly Gallery, New York
Su Kwak: The Cosmic Light Series, curated by Dr. Jungsil Jenny Lee, Brauer Museum of Art,
  Valparaiso University, Indiana; catalogue
Circles of Light, HK Art and Antiques Gallery, New York
  2016 Cosmic Light, June Kelly Gallery, New York
  2012-13 Su Kwak: Light Journey-An Odyssey in Paint, Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso
  University, IN; traveling exhibition to Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of
  Oregon, Eugene, OR; catalogue
  2009 Light and Time: New Paintings, June Kelly Gallery, New York; catalogue
Light and Time: New Paintings, Sun Art Center-Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea; catalogue
  2006 Healing Light, Sun Art Center, Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea; catalogue
  2004 Healing Light, June Kelly Gallery, New York; catalogue
  2002 Light Series, Jean Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2001 Beyond Light Series, Ellen Kim Murphy Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2000 Recent Paintings, Korean Cultural Service, Washington, DC
Recent Paintings, University of Maryland Gallery, College Park, MD
  1997 Double Vision, Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service, New York
  1996 Divided Light Series, Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  1993 Recent Paintings, Humphrey Gallery, New York
Visions of East and West, University of Maryland Gallery, College Park, MD
  1992 Light Passages, Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service, New York
Inner Light Series, New York Academy of Sciences, New York; traveled to
  University of Chicago, Midway Gallery, Chicago, IL
  International House Club, World Trade Center, New Orleans, LA and
  American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC
  1986 Recent Paintings, Jan Cicero Gallery, Chicago, IL
  1983 The Burning Bush Series, Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York
  1982 The Burning Bush Series, Elmhurst College Gallery, Elmhurst, IL

Selected Group Exhibitions
  2018 Life of Women: Su Kwak, Elizabeth Keith, Myong Hi Kim, Tricia Wright, curated by Heakyum
  Kim, HK Art and Antiques LLC, New York
  2017 Celebrating 30 Years, Group Artists: Drawings and Photographs, June Kelly Gallery, New York
  2016 Collateral Damage, The Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, John Jay College of Criminal Justice,
  CUNY, New York, NY
  2015 The Sun Shines for Us All, Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Visual Arts Exhibition Artist Fellowship Program 16, 200 I Street Galleries, DC Commission on
  the Arts and Humanities, Washington, DC
Chosen Homeland: Searching for Women’s Identity & Unity, the Korean Cultural Center,
  Washington, DC
Love & Healing, MK Gallery, Vienna, Virginia
  2014 New Art Collection, curated by Marsha Ralls, Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC
  2012 Celebrating 25 Years, June Kelly Gallery, New York
  2011 20 Years, 20 Artists, The Ralls Collection, Washington, DC
Spread Your Vision Invitational, Ewha Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2010 Featured Artists, Andrews Art Museum, Andrews, NC
First International Flag Festival, Jeolla Province, South Korea
33rd Anniversary 330 Artists, Sun Art Center, Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2009 Gallery Artists, Sun Art Center-Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2007 Pure and High: Lee Gyuill Collection, Lee’s Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
New Acquisitions 2006, National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea
Art DC International Art Fair, Gallery Athena-Paris, Washington, DC
  2006 The 1st Art & Welfare International Design Invitation, Gongju National Museum, South Korea
  2005 Festival of World Written Languages: 5th World Calligraphy Biennale, Jeollabuk-do, South
  Korea
New Material: Tyvek, Samwon Paper Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
New York Eviction Blues, Asian American Art Centre, New York
  2004 A Universe of Art, organized by Corporate Art Directions, Credit Suisse First Boston, New
  York
  2003 Art for Art‘s Sake, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
New Acquisitions, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
4th World Calligraphy Biennale of Jeollabuk-do, South Korea
100 Year Anniversary of Korean Immigration to America, L.A. Hyun Gallery, Los Angeles. CA
Contemporary Korean and Japanese Paintings, Jean Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Meditation, Gallery Light, Seoul, South Korea
  2002 100 Artists’ Show, Gallery Light, Seoul, Korea
An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art in the Residence of Ambassador and Mrs. Thomas C.
  Hubbard
, Art in Embassies Program, Seoul, South Korea
  2001 24th Anniversary Show, Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  2000 Seoul Art Fair, Seoul Arts Center, represented by Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
  1999 Contemporary American Women Artists, Art in Embassies Program, United States Department
   of State Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, Switzerland official
   residence
Eat Art, Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, New York
New Wind: Korean American Artists, curated by Jack Rassmussen, Rockville Art Place,
  Maryland, traveled to the Maryland Art Place, Baltimore
Six Artists, Myung Sook Lee Gallery, New York Contemporary American Art, Art in
  Embassies Program, Seoul, South Korea
Asian American Women Artists, curated By Norma Cohen. New World Art Center, New York
Korean American Artists, curated by Deena Crosso, University College Arts Gallery,
  University of Maryland
  1997 20th Year Anniversary Show, Sun Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Summer Group Show, Marisa del Re Gallery, New York
  1996 Seoul International Art Fair '96, Seoul, South Korea
Visions of the Next Generation, Seoul Arts Center Museum, Korea
Celebration of Ten Years of the Art of Science and Technology, curated by Jeannette Murray,
  American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC
Introductions, Kouros Gallery, New York
Inaugural Exhibition, The American Center for Physics, College Park, MD
  1994 Holiday Group Show, Kouros Gallery, New York
Gallery Artists, Sylvia Schmidt Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Art from America, Artempo Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Members' Gallery Show, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
  1993 Summer Group Show, Marisa del Re Gallery, New York
111 International Artists for Peace, Gallery Bhak, Seoul, South Korea
Building Bridges, International Monetary Fund Art Gallery, Washington, DC

Public Collections
Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Indiana
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Busan Metropolitan Museum of Art, Busan, South Korea
Dae Lim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
Gwang Ju City Museum, Gwang Ju, South Korea
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Koreal
Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Youngeun, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwangju, South Korea
Jeollabuk-do Cultural Department, Jeonju, South Korea
Gana Art Center , Seoul, South Korea
Sun Art Center, Seoul, Korea
Jean Art Center, Seoul, Korea
Korean Embassy, Washington, DC
Doosan Dong-A Co., Ltd. Seoul, South Korea
Asian-American Arts Center, New York
Arthur Anderson, Chicago, IL
Hale and Dorr, Washington, DC
Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson, San Francisco, CA
WilmerHale, New York
Thrall Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, IL
Hyatt Hotels, Oakbrook, IL
Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC

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