Jeonghang and Choonhyang Yun and Thomas Nonn came from chaotic countries, Korea and Hungary (Stalinist control and uprisings). Both the Yuns and Thomas Nonn use wood in their paintings though in different forms. All their works have textured surfaces. They depict nature as their themes with often differing use and results. Thus, I chose the title for this exhibition “Matter Painting”.
The Yuns have created in their works, a unique alchemy of ancient Asian techniques and modern Western imagery – abstraction. They use the bark of the Korean Dak tree which they collect. The bark is harvested each year and new trees are re-generated. Then they begin a meticulous and arduous task of cooking the bark to form pulp. A totally organic, natural process. Some of the pulp is blended with ground natural pigments of different colors. They use both pigmented and non – pigmented pulp in their work. The Yuns utilize their combined creative energy to manipulate the pulp with its fibrous strands and clumps into orchestrated swathes. The color, composition and texture create an amazing experience. This is abstraction in its purest form.
Thomas Nonn’s paintings in this exhibition were made in the 1980’s with one later painting which is more subtle. Iron and copper oxide, sand, led, cement, ash, stone dust, marble dust, burlap, oil, Roplex and aged, broken planks of driftwood are the principal materials of Nonn’s paintings. There is a feeling of solidity and tighter composition with the wood, metal and burlap. But the colors produced by washes of acids and oxides that permeate each surface is most striking. His imaginative terrain has been blasted and burned like the earth itself, subjected to corrosive defilement. The rust sweeps over the canvas and wood like sediment. We sometimes feel a radioactive glow emanating from these paintings. The paintings continue to change after he finishes them ensuring a kind of after-life.
“Part of the appeal of matter painting lies in its solidity in the physical and the paradox of both timelessness and metamorphosis inherent in the matter itself which we ourselves are part of” Thomas Nonn 1987
The Yuns and Thomas Nonn have also exhibited at the Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation in Jim Thorpe, PA.