Daecho Park: Innocence Lost

When 25 Jun 2010 - 2 Sep 2010
Where Chelsea

Boom Boom, 2008.  Transparency print & light box.  Courtesy of the artist and Chelsea Art Museum NY


June 25 – September 2 2010

Opening Reception: June 24, 6-8pm

Press Release:

Daecho Park creates portraits of children affected by the trials of life yet at one with nature. In other words, he expresses that nature which although belabored by its steep climb through life, can maintain the innocence found in children. But, while they appear innocent enough, these children bear the mark of desolation, loss and pain that can often be glimpsed in their eyes. Park believes that our nature is damaged by social and personal irrational desires.
His portrayed sitters are metaphors of an existential moment during which they question not only the foundations of their lives but also, its meaning. This idea is prevalent in Buddhism as well, and embraces the idea that our objective world is only illusory and that we will suffer our humanity until we learn to let go of our earthly desires. Indeed, Park grew up with Buddhist tenets in his proximity and furthermore, he has incorporated them into his Taoist beliefs that emphasize the rule of being at one with nature. His artworks as well as his written essays stem from these two religious philosophies in synchrony. Park has accomplished serious work on Lao Tzu and Chuang-tzu who believed that one must live with respect to nature. For Park this is not some antediluvian throw back to religion, but arises out of real concern for the environment and is revived as a viable philosophy to place emphasis on the benefits of a nature in harmony. The destruction of the ozone layer by air pollution, water and soil contamination, or nuclear waste would have been unimaginable to Park’s ancestors.

Unlike the text portraits of Ralph Ueltzhoeffer who uses typeface to reference the DOS digital language, Park transfers his photographs of children on natural material such as stone. Then he paints them often in monochrome or black and white to express the inclusion of all color in one and the absence of all color in the other as a way of returning to nature. Like Gerhard Richter, Park considers portraiture of utmost importance. But, Park and Richter transform the sitter whether media personality, real person, or imaginary. These two artists have broadened the definition of the portrait genre while challenging the standard model of art media. Park’s work like Richter’s straddles the categories of painting and photography but Park broadens its demarcation by his embrace of sculpture also. He engraves, carves or cuts into the stone painting images that include grids or other ray lines that separate and displace portions of the face like shafts of light as seen in his Binarity 2, 2008.

For more information please visit www.chelseaartmuseum.org.