A Group Show Exploring Domestic Space Finds Harmony Between Art and Design

In “Living in Art I: Let’s Art,” Los Angeles gallery Seomi International presents an innovative concept for viewing works by the gallery’s contemporary artists and designers. Installed in a what was once a private home setting, works by Bae Se Hwa, Lee Hun Chung, Kang Myung Sun, Bahk Jong Sun and Joana Vasconcelos—among others—are given a domestic context, allowing viewers to experience a home in which architecture, art, and design coexist seamlessly.

“Let’s Art” includes an international roster of artists and designers, many of whom hail from Korea, where a special emphasis is placed on exceptional craftsmanship, the use of traditional materials and techniques, and reverence towards nature. The artists chosen for this exhibition reflect these impulses strongly in their practices. Lee Hun Chung’s richly glazed, hand-built ceramic works manifest as functional objects, including chairs, vessels, and benches. Many of the pieces are Rothkoesque in their color schemes and allow for the wabi-sabi qualities of his medium to take over, in palettes and patterns created through a method that Lee refers to as “three-dimensional landscape painting.” 

Similarly organic yet cosmic are the works of Kang Myung Sun and Bae Se Hwa, both of whom create cabinets, tables, and chairs that have the curvaceous feeling of ultra-futuristic design, but primarily employ traditional materials, such as lacquered wood inlaid with mother of pearl and walnut. Bahk Jong Sun, meanwhile, presents minimalist furniture stripped clean of ornamentation yet still retaining a playful eye for color and form, with occasional blocks of primary color, black, and white in works such as Trans-14-006 (2014).

Moving away from the functional to the more purely artistic are works by European artist Joana Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos fuses ideas of domestic femininity with those of the wild masculine, in sculptures of animals or objects covered in crochet—works such as Capote (2014) or Side by Side (2013) present castrated views of masculinity, freezing and capturing their subjects in a net of femininity. These pieces bring a conceptual edge to a show that otherwise focuses on the aesthetic.

–K. Sundberg

Living in Art I: Let’s Art,” is on view at Seomi International, Los Angeles, Feb. 20–Apr. 24, 2015.

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