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Article

Joan Kee

(b La Jolla, CA, Sept 6, 1961).

American painter. Born of Korean parents, Kim studied English literature at Yale University where he received his degree in 1983. Following graduation, Kim studied painting at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture until 1986. He first gained visibility in the early 1990s for his early series of conceptual paintings that merged the formal vocabulary of canonical artistic practices, including hard-edge abstract painting and American minimalism, with references to racial and ethnic identity. Synecdoche (1991) is a grid consisting of hundreds of small quadrilateral canvases, each monochromatically painted in colours matching the skin tones of more than three hundred sitters. The work subtly yet visibly depicted the diversity of humankind within the modernist configuration of the grid. This duality between references to social and cultural implications and the utilization of a presumptively conservative mode of painting continued in similar-themed works such as Belly Paintings (1993) and ...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Taegu, Korea, June 5, 1973).

Korean painter. When Moon moved to the USA in 1999 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, she already had an MFA in painting from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She eventually earned her second MFA from University of Iowa in 2002. In her ink and acrylic painting on paper, Moon combines references to popular culture with images and techniques reminiscent of her Asian cultural background such as calligraphy.

The essential characteristic of Moon’s work is its visual and material hybridity that owes much to her expertise in both Asian and Western painting traditions. Dynamic use of color, allover composition and depictions of quasi-organic motifs in Moon’s landscapes may suggest affinity to abstract painting by Helen Frankenthaler. Just as many Abstract Expressionists did, Moon’s composition envisions primordial landscape of a life-giving planet where chaos is destructive and creative at the same time. For example, Haven (...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Seattle, WA, 1939).

American painter of Japanese ancestry (sansei or third generation). The subjects in Shimomura’s paintings, prints and performances have largely stemmed from his personal experience of living as an ethnic minority in the Midwest and his grandmother’s diaries chronicling her immigration and adjustment to the USA in the early 20th century. By incorporating the seemingly disparate images from the historical and contemporary sources, Shimomura has presented captivating visual essences that bespeak of the multi-generational experience not only of Japanese–Americans, but also of Asian Americans. His works constituted significant critiques of the racial prejudices deeply rooted in the American society, alarming the viewer that the roots of prejudice could be found in all individuals.

At age three, Shimomura’s earliest visual memory was formed in Camp Minidoka in the southern Idaho desert, where he and his family, along with thousands of other Japanese–Americans, were detained from 1942 to 1944. Shimomura’s distant memory was revived after reading his grandmother’s diaries, which offered the ground narratives for many series of paintings: ...

Article

Reiko Tomii

[ Tenmyōya ]

(b Musashino, Feb 10, 1966).

Japanese painter and graphic artist . Mostly self-taught, from childhood he loved to draw and he joined a high-school painting club. In 1983 the American film Wild Style (1982) inspired him to study hip-hop culture and become a graffiti artist. While working as a graphic designer of CD jackets at a record company, Tenmyouya submitted his art works to major competitive exhibitions for graphic artists such as Urbanart and JACA (Japan Association of Art and Culture’s visual art competition) and was often successful. His trapezoidal Manga Ukiyo-e series received a special award in JACA ’97 by reinterpreting the popular media of manga and ukiyo-e, as well as the life of modern yakuza outlaws, a popular TV and film subject. In 2000 Tenmyouya left his design job and had his first solo exhibition at a rental gallery, Harajuku, in Tokyo. He also found an outlet for his graphically oriented works in the print media, starting his monthly contribution of the ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Onomichi, Japan, 1936).

American painter of Japanese birth. Teraoka moved to the USA in 1961 after studying art at the Kwansai Gakuin University in Kobe, Japan. He pursued his BA and MFA at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. While Teraoka’s output has varied in styles, he has consistently addressed contemporary socio-political issues that have preoccupied the American public, including the Americanization of Japanese culture, AIDS, gay marriage, sex scandals, privacy invaded by the internet and human cloning.

Teraoka’s early watercolors and prints in the 1970s emulated the flat and bold aesthetic style of 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. Series such as McDonald’s Hamburgers Invading Japan comically satirized the far-reaching American cultural impacts on Japan. Responding to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Teraoka created mural-scale canvases and panels depicting geishas and samurais fighting condoms or contracting the disease.

Since the late 1990s, Teraoka has turned his attention to even darker topics, most notably the sex scandals involving priests and politicians. To better suit these contemporary Euro-American topics, Teraoka drew aesthetic inspiration from 15th- and 16th-century Dutch and Italian religious paintings, and adopted the medium of oil painting. In his 6-m horizontal painting ...