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Artists reveal pent-up desires in exhibit

Oct 31,2017
이미지뷰
American artist Hernan Bas’s acrylic painting “Two Brothers (paper mask)” (2017), right, and Korean artist Young Do Jeong’s acrylic, color pencil and graphite painting “B Stubborn” (2015-17), left, are part of their joint exhibition “Wild n Out” at PKM gallery in central Seoul. “The two are similar in that both express their inner sensitivities,” the gallery’s director Park Kyung-mee said. [PKM GALLERY]
Two artists exhibit two very different expressive styles - one is figurative and the other is abstract. Somehow, however, there exists quite a surprising similarity between American Hernan Bas and Korean Young Do Jeong when it comes to expressing suppressed desires in their works.

The unlikely duo, who have never exhibited their works side by side, are showing their latest paintings - the “Bathers” series and “Plastic Freud,” respectively - in the joint exhibition “Wild n Out” at Seoul’s PKM gallery.

“The two are similar in that both express their inner sensitivities, bottled-up desires and stifled feelings on canvas. The wildness is exposed in rich colors and intensity of expression,” the gallery’s director Park Kyung-mee said at a press briefing on Friday.’

She didn’t know what to expect from this unusual composition in the beginning, as the two artists have their own individual artistic styles and play by their own sensitivities.

But the synergy between the two, she added, turned out quite impressively.

Saying he first saw Bas’s work online, Jeong, one of Korea’s up-and-coming contemporary artists, said, “Many focus on the people and their facial expressions in Bas’s paintings in order to understand the underlying narratives.”

“But I was more intrigued to see how the people’s feelings and their surrounding environments interact with each other,” he said, adding that he could see abstract aspects in Bas’s figurative paintings.

Deeply influenced by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and his own neuropsychiatrist father, Jeong is known for planting numerous references in his paintings and encouraging the viewers to figure out the hidden messages he hopes to convey.

His outwardly abstruse artworks contain a wide variety of figurative symbols that metaphorically express fragile human emotions - loss, pain and misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, the Miami-based artist Bas has been largely inspired by the 19th century Decadent Movement, and the literature written by Irish writer Oscar Wilde in particular.

Working on queer male themes, he creates intriguing tensions by portraying young male adults, neither particularly gleeful nor necessarily antagonistic towards each other, in a rather fantastical, dreamy atmosphere.

His “Bathers” series once again touches upon the usual suspect of his - a wild adolescent adventure and odd tensions coming from the erotic homosexual undercurrent between the boyish male figures in tropical lush landscapes. The thinly veiled expression of personal drives is designed to bring to the surface the viewer’s own long-suppressed desires and fantasies, the gallery said.

The exhibition runs through Nov. 25.

Yonhap