▲ Left to right, from above: Hong Bo Ram with a work in progress inspired by the waterfalls on Jeju; Yong Oh Seung with his multi-media depiction of a haenyo; and a self portrait of Yong Oh Seung. Photos by Tracie Barrett
An art exhibition currently showing at the Lee Jung Seop Gallery in Seogwipo is the culmination of a one-year residency by six artists, supported by the Seogwipo City Government. Running until Feb. 7, the show features work by Jeju artists Kim Ok Sun, Yong Oh Seung and Hyun Deok Sik, in addition to Young Bacq Mok, Kim Hyun Ju and Hong Bo Ram, all of whom are usually based in Seoul.
The exhibition runs until Feb. 7 and the artists are also holding open studio sessions from Jan. 29 thru 31 and on Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., in which the public can visit their workplaces and observe the creative process.
Kim Ok Sun said the government had renovated a fish restaurant to create six studios for resident artists, complete with bathroom, shower and kitchen facilities so the visiting artists can live in. The first floor of the building contains a ceramic craft studio, the second is home to a gallery, meeting room and office space and the artist’s studios are on the third to sixth floors.
As part of the Lee Jung Seop Creative Art Studio, the artists get free use of the studios for one year, with the obligation to hold an exhibition and open studio, and to donate one piece of artwork created during the residency at the end of the year.
This has been the first year of the residency, Kim said, and it will continue for at least a second year with another five artists already chosen to take over the studio space after the current complement moves out on Feb. 10.
Lee Jung Seop (1916-1956) was a very famous Korean painter, Kim said, who came from a rich family but had a very difficult life. He studied in Japan and married a Japanese woman but could not support himself from his art when they returned to Korea. He and his family lived in Seogwipo for seven months, which was one of the happiest times of his life. His wife and two sons returned to Japan without him and Lee died alone and destitute at the age of 40 but has since been recognized as an important Korean artist.
“His artwork is very outstanding and shows a very romantic life of the seashore,” Kim said.
Seogwipo City has restored the small thatched house in which Lee and his family lived and created a museum in his honor, in addition to the gallery and studio complex. The site is a stop on one of Jeju’s popular olle walking trails, course number 6 from Soesokkak to Oedolgae Rock, so receives a large number of visitors.
The studios are close to Seogwipo Harbor and the natural surroundings have been an important part of the experience for Hong Bo Ram, one of the artists in residency.
“I come from Seoul and when I came at first it was a bit hard to get used to the environment,” she said. “Mostly I was a bit lonely because Seoul is very busy.”
After a period of adjustment, she found she loved the natural beauty of Jeju and found it artwork changing. “Here I’m surrounded by nature so I figured out the relationship with me and nature,” she said. “As time went by, my work changed.”
She held an exhibition in August 2009 in Jeju City at which her work was well-received _ “I was very fulfilled” _ and is considering staying on Jeju Island longer after completing her residency.
Lee Jung Seop Art Gallery Seogwi-dong 514 Seogwipo City Tel. 064-760-2492
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