Jae Ko : Flow 流
Jul 20 – Sep 16, 2017
Robischon Gallery is very pleased to present Jae Ko’s “Flow,” the artist’s seventh solo exhibition with the gallery featuring distinctive individual wall sculptures, along with Ko’s second site-specific paper installation.
As part of Ko’s “Force of Nature” installation series and as a continuation of her recent exhibition at Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Flow elaborates on Ko’s signature and unconventional use of paper as her material of choice. With large spools of commercial adding machine tape which are unfurled and re-rolled into soft, pliant coils, the artist painstakingly stacks and layers the paper, up walls and over floors in relationship to each varied architectural space. Ko’s installations have previously scaled vast museum walls, rounded corners and descended stairwells in such other noteworthy art spaces as the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. In an all-white gallery, Flow takes its shape via piece by coiled piece resulting in a silken white-on-white undulating form with moiré effect. Responsive to the malleability of the paper, Ko states, “Sometimes I place a roll on the floor, and give it a tap right in the middle. They just collapse then fold into amazing shapes. I want people to see the work and to think how this ordinary material can be more than what they think because paper transforms into a unifying, potentially infinite continuation, and in process, relates to a kind of poetic space that performs around the human body. My work continues to evolve as a conceptual practice – the transformation of everyday objects into something extraordinary for new visual and sensual experiences.”
An important aspect of Ko’s ongoing investigation is sparked by a sense of place. Just as in parallel series, the compelling curvilinear lines of Ko’s individual twisted, smooth-spun paper, ink and glue sculptures were inspired by Nature, as in the wind-whipped, ancient bristlecone pines of California’s White Mountains. Similarly, Flow is the artist’s response to the rapidly disappearing snowy and glacial topographies throughout the northwestern US. Ko’s travels to the American West, including the dramatic landscapes of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico followed by Newfoundland, Labrador and eastern Canada, inspired her shift into exploring installation as a way to capture the panoramic geographies of diverse landscapes. This same creative curiosity for over two and a half decades, has led the artist to a mastery of her medium. Ko pushes the material to not only address a kind of cultural history, but with further intent, speaks to ancient landscape formations and vanishing tundra environments. With sweeping forms and lavender-tinged color, Flow’s mounds of paper respond to shifting light and shadow capturing a sense of wonder in alignment with the northern landscape Ko suggests.
Ko’s potent, individual shaped sculptures of paper, ink and glue are equally engaging works with their rich, matte, ink-soaked surfaces. Made with her highly-recognized and ingenuous proprietary process, the ongoing essential and far-reaching series continues to intrigue both the artist and viewer. Known for her monochromatic palettes, the velvety-looking surfaces of black Sumi ink dominated by an electric ultramarine blue (a kind ice-reflecting-sky hue), is an ethereal new shade for Ko, reaffirming the artist’s ever-evolving pursuit of her vision. Creating a dynamic and unique language, Ko’s ongoing achievement in technical and thematic resonance establishes the artist as not only noteworthy, but as having mastered a brilliant relationship between idea and medium. With the addition of her remarkable installation series, Jae Ko continues to distinguish herself as a pioneer of material abstraction and as an artist with an expansive view of the world around.
Born in Korea, and educated in Japan, the Washington, D.C.-based Jae Ko is recipient of a prestigious Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant and a winner of the noteworthy 2012 Anonymous Was a Woman award. The artist studied at Toyo Art School, Tokyo, has a B.F.A. from Wako University, Tokyo, Japan and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has received grants and awards from Maryland State Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and numerous DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Washington D.C. Convention Center and Grounds for Sculpture, New Jersey and others. Jae Ko has exhibited throughout the US and internationally in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Canada and her work is currently on view at Paper Biennial, CODA Museum, Netherlands through October.