A Breath of Korea
By Mook Jae
Calligraphy Style Imagery
August 14th – September 29th
Reception on Saturday, August 18th from 7-9pm
The door opens and closes, opening and closing continuously, just as time passes on. Our forefathers used this door as did their descendants and so I shall open and close the door. Even now I step through the door and know that my children will follow in my footsteps for that is how history is made. History cannot be tamed or contained merely by spoken words. This is why the written word is good. The written word connects the past, the present, and the future. Inhaling all of time, I trace each word with care. History moves my brush into the ink, pouring out inspiration and wisdom. However, time and history mold my letters into images, yet another language so that we may learn.
Calligraphy Reflecting an Artist’s Inner Feelings:
As a child I would watch my elder brothers come home from Chinese literary institution and practice what they had learned. My interest was sparked and I would follow along with what they did. Then I heard of a saying that said that “calligraphy is a mirror of your inner most feelings,” from that point I was inspired to practice calligraphy for wanting of a clean mind that was reflected through my writings.
Within my calligraphy I try to illustrate what sounds I hear. Whether the sounds are small or large or even the noisy chatter of a neighbor. This I accomplish by writing with different sized brushes to create the effect that I want.
Not only do I illustrate the sound of the words I write, but I try to illustrate the word itself. If the word I write is mountain, then I will write the word in a way that it will appear as if it were brush painted to be a mountain rather than a word on its own. Or I will write the word so that it reflects the meaning that it represents.
What I write is a look into my inner feelings, but the words are a new reflection of me on their own. By dipping my brush into the ink and then laying it on paper then to look at what I’ve created, I see a new mirror of me in a different position and sound yet still me. When one can look at what I’ve written and not only see but also hears the words then I know that I have accomplished what I want and that is what I write.
The words I write are not empty words. They carry messages and wisdom. These words could be biblical verses or poems or good news, but all reflecting my thoughts and myself.
I was born in Korea and so I shall carry myself with pride, but my home is in the United States and I too am proud to live in such a country. In Korea I was learned and practiced traditional techniques, but now I experiment with new techniques. I try to bring the good of both my past and present, tradition and contemporary ways so that what I create will truly reflect my life. Sometimes I include English words alongside Korean so that the West may truly meet the East and vice versa.
Peace of mind is hard to obtain even for a moment, but when those moments come, I write what I see. My works are what I see with a clean mind, when there is nothing to dirty or scatter my thoughts. Those rare moments of clarity are the makings of my inner mind. And those thoughts and feelings I present to the world by a stroke of a brush.
05/2016 - Yangsan Art Center, Seoul, Korea
04/2016 - New York Art Expo
03/2016 - KCC Art Gallery, Chicago
10/2014 - Hyangga 'Korean Cultural Center, Washington, DC
10/2013 - "Come On In, The Door is Open" Korean Cultural Center, Washington, DC
03/2012 - National Museum of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
04/2010 - Washington Historical Society, Washington, DC
04/2005 - Seoul Art Center, South Korea
06/2016 - Korean National Art Association Chairman's Award
06/2010 - Smithsonian Folk Life Festival Director's Award
05/2010 - Smithsonian Museum South-East Asian, Pacific Islander's Art's & Craft Director's Award
05/2008 - Governor of Maryland Korean Culture Festival Award.