Two flower painters at I-MYU

FORGET ME NOT: Works by Yeon Soo Ha and Bon-A Koo
1 February — 2 March 2008, I-MYU Gallery, 23 Charlotte Road EC2A 3PB
Tuesday-Saturday 12-6pm or by appointment

The work of Ha Yeonsoo and Koo Bona currently on show at I-MYU both have nature as their subject, but almost could not be further apart from each other.

Koo Bona - detail

Koo’s work seems steeped in the world of Choson dynasty literati painting, replacing the more traditional trees with grasses, flowers and ferns as subjects.

With very sparing use of colour to highlight a blossom, her paintings are predominantly black and white — or rather, shades of grey and cream. For the white space in her paintings contain almost as much interest as the remainder: layers of paint, and often layers of paper as well. The use of multiple layers of paper to give depth and a sculptural quality to the work is even more pronounced in her other works in the show, which seem to present derelict buildings. In these, tiny rectangles of paper are individually affixed onto the main sheet, resembling individual bricks or stones.

While Koo’s work observes from a distance, Ha plunges you straight into the heart of her subject. Her single flower blossoms fill the whole frame rather than appearing in the context of all their foliage. Using bold purples and reds, sometimes on a background of gold, a surprising amount of delicacy is nevertheless evident in the individual petals.

This delicacy is even more pronounced when Ha is painting white flowers, there the petals have a gossamer-like wispiness. Up close, if you catch the light, you might see glitter or two, as the light sparkles on a small particle of the mineral that was ground to provide the colour. Ha’s flower paintings are not still-life reproductions — they are more like an attempt to depict some Platonic ideal of a flower.

Ha Yeonsoo

As usual, these poor snaps do not do the originals justice. So you are strongly encouraged to go along to see them for yourselves. You have 10 days: Forget-me-not continues at I-MYU until 2 March.


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