In this series of oil on canvas paintings by Korean artist Park Seong Yul (박성열), the figure of a lone female artist, her back towards the viewer, contemplates the completed (or nearly completed) artwork in front of her. In each painting, the woman is drawn in a realistic though simplified style while the artwork ranges from an abstract and colorfully chaotic vision of thick brushstrokes, splatters and drips to a straightforward two-tone blue and white depiction of an orchestra to a gorgeous, impressionistic view of a single flower. This contrast in styles invites the viewer to focus on the variety of techniques used in the different paintings and to consider the varied approaches artists can take when interpreting the world and communicating their ideas.
Paintings by Park Seong-yul
Many of Park Seong Yul’s other paintings also feature solitary figures (usually a woman, but sometimes a man or a small dog) seen from behind or from the side and set against a vibrant abstract background or within a natural landscape.
Related Works by Other Artists
At the same art exhibition, I came across this painting, Dream, by Korean artist Lee Woo Lim. It also focuses on the figure of women shown from behind in front of (or in this case, over top of) a pattern of shadows.
The pattern appears to created by sunlight and the shadows of tree branches, but the pattern of light and shadow does not fall on the woman. What is the dream? The pattern, the woman or both of them?
Park Seong Yul’s paintings of artists in front of artwork reminded me of this commissioned street art piece by Glenn Clark and Shayla Ritchie that I came across in Pentiction, British Columbia. It is a painting on a paint store of a painter painting a painting of a painter painting a painting.
This section includes links to online photo galleries discussion questions and an art challenge.
To view the images of Park Seong-yul’s and Lee Woo-lim’ss artwork at a higher resolution (e.g., 2048 x 1365), you can go to the online albums at:
- Which artwork on this page do you like best, why?
- Why do you think the artist chose not to show her face?
- In the four ‘artist’ paintings, the artist is shown with her brush behind her or at her side, but not actually painting. The painter is in an ‘evaluating’ pose. What effect does this choice of pose have on you, the viewer?
Draw a picture of yourself creating an artwork.
~ text and photos by longzijun
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