‘Sobin Park: Pictograph to Sign’ at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York




Sobin Park, Heaven in Love, 2021. 6M x 230cm, pencil on paper, bronze powder. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tenri Cultural Institute will open its doors to Sobin Park: Pictograph to Sign, an exhibition curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos that will run from October 18th through November 22nd, 2023, with a reception to be held on October 19th from 6-8pm.

From her earlier imagery of ‘dragons and maidens,’ Park’s formal vocabulary has developed into an external nexus of differentiated signs and intricate webs, where the viewers’ imagination travels rapidly like an electrical current through their linear and tangled forms. Moreover, her symbolic paintings, in which abstract figures with their ambient and velvety outlines undulate infinitely, expand the modernist paradigm, for which sign or symbol constituted in a common denominator of creative expression of intimate non-representational feeling.

The artist, Sobin Park, image courtesy of the artist.

Morphologically, Sobin Park’s latest development is demonstrated on her epic surfaces as a sort of script that was initiated when drawing her dragons’ scales that resulted in sign. Upon these forms she sometimes uses color-stick and sometimes glazes with which to lock in her drawings. The style is similar to that of her ongoing interest that like a signature over time, loses its readability only to gain in its visual power. Park’s these, as always, is about love, heartbreak, tumultuous relationships, losing oneself in the other, and as Andre Breton defined it in his novel Nadja, convulsive beauty that is like an involuntary and uncontrollable spasm.

To exactly cognize love, like a pictorial myth or a signified and symbolic script, one needs to understand her formal manifestations of speech, movement and suggestion. Sobin Park’s artistic development, through her morphological transition from a pictographic and mythical language to a more conceptual and abstract one, virtually signifies her constant alteration in terms of creative process in order to visually depict with all her media (picture, myth, symbol and sign) the most non-figurative and deepest feelings of a human psyche; namely love, heartache and intangible beauty.

Artist Sobin Park for the exhibition ‘Sobin Park: Pictograph to Sign’ at Tenri Cultural Institute. Image courtesy of the artist

About the artist ~ Born in 1971 in Gwangju, South Korea, Sobin Park currently lives and works in Beijing. She got a BFA from Mokpo National University in Mokpo, South Korea in 1993 and an MFA from Chosen University in Gwangju, South Korea in 1996. She has exhibited internationally including solo exhibitions at the Hebei Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Hebei, China in 2021, at Elga Wimmer PPC, New York in 2020, at the Laboratories-Venezia in Venice, Italy in 2019 and at The Today Art Museum in Beijing in 2017. Her work was included in Blood and Tears: Portrayals of Gwangju’s Democratic Struggle, a group exhibition at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York in 2022. She won the 20th Gwangju Art Prize in 2014. She is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Crete, Greece and the Gwangju City Museum of Art.

Artist Sobin Park for the exhibition ‘Sobin Park: Pictograph to Sign’ at Tenri Cultural Institute. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tenri Cultural Institute is a 501 (c) non-profit institution organized in 1991 to promote the study of Japanese language, international art forms, and to foster understanding and harmony in the community.

Sobin Park: Pictograph to Sign will be on view from October 18 through November 22, 2023 at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, 43A West 13th Street, NYC. An Opening Reception will be held on Thursday, October 19th from 6-8pm.