Unfamiliar Territory: How 5 Asian Artists Are Pushing the Medium of Glass
In a new show of artisanal glass works from Korea and Japan at Gallery LVS, five artists bring the art form to its sculptural limits, exploring the formal and technical boundaries of the fragile substance. As the exhibition’s apt title suggests, “A Lucid Dream” explores glass’s intriguing potential to be hypnagogic and ephemeral.
The psychedelic work of Jaekyung Lee borrows equally from the natural world and the hallucinatory. The pieces on view, from his “Dissolving Stave” series (all 2015), feature complex woven or swirled decorations. Reminiscent of op art, such as Bridget Riley’s stripe paintings and Adolf Luther’s relief sculptures, the vortex of multicolored lines in these works pull the viewer’s eye in and around the glass surfaces. Other pieces include oblique references to flora and fauna, with geometric patterning radiating from their centers.
Yukako Kojima also makes reference to the natural world of leaves and fish-scale patterning. Layers of Light – Leaf and Layers of Light 14 are built up from progressive, angled layers of blue-green glass, with their colors becoming increasingly rich as the layers overlap and cross. Likewise, the layered glass forms of Rikie Shojiguchi, comprised of concentric hemispheres of frosted glass, make reference to the basic building blocks of the natural world. The rolling arcs of her works Fukura and Fukura (paperweight) resemble the petals of delicate flowers or delicate, nested egg shells. Both artists create seamless, minimal forms that convey serenity.
Junyong Kim’s bowl-like Selenium Light (2014) emphasizes the material creation of such glassworks. The voluptuous yellow vessel blooms outward in curving bulbs before contracting into a thin stem. The glass has been de-colorized using selenium, which gives the piece a straw-like hue and colorful, textured rivulets running down its sides. The beauty of this handcrafting results in incandescence; light passing through casts a warm, orange circle in radiating bands, an effect carefully calibrated by the object’s design.
All the artists in the show uncover largely unknown means of working with a familiar substance, making it new and unfamiliar again. The artists bring an exciting experimentation to their craft, showing the overlap of artist and artisan, design and avant-garde.
“A Lucid Dream: Glass Works from Korea and Japan” is on view at Gallery LVS, Seoul, Feb. 4–Feb. 28, 2015.