The Work of Seungyea Park

Sinister contorted figurations by Korean artist Seungyea Park are beautifully precise visions and grotesque manipulations of reality.  Her intricate art work, combining skilful methods of drawing and painting, displace and distort elements of the human figure with particular focus on the face and hands.  Also known as Spunky Zoe, Park delineates her subjects and delicately shades them with swirling marks made with a ballpoint pen and uses acrylic paint to embellish them further.  Park transforms the face in to a malleable form, altering it’s features and anatomy.  She still retains a sense of three-dimensionality and realism and her creations have a strange familiarity as in botanical drawings or specimen jars that display their subjects suspended in blank space.  This lack of context also implies that each figure has only themselves or we who stare at them to focus on, lending the images a strange intimacy and hauntingly direct quality.  Currently based in New York, Park’s work has garnered wide spread attention not only because of its technical virtuosity but also because of its focus on fear of the unknown-an apt observation of contemporary preoccupations.  Describing this as a perceived condition of ‘monstrousness’, she examines the idea that we make enemies of one another because we are ignorant of strangers.  She expresses these ideas while exorcising her own fears and demons in the process of drawing.  With this in mind, Park’s figures look gargoyle-like in their deformity but there still remains a complex vision of empathy and humanity.  Each piece of work describes the features and gestures of a unique individual rather than a generic aggressor.  The elegant sensitivity and accuracy of her draftsmanship suggests that demonising ‘the other’ in this way is the fault of the observer rather that the person who is being feared, as despite their grotesque distorted anatomy, the figures underneath are entirely normal and recognisable.

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