The Ideal and Reality; Journey of Human Life

Able Fine Art NY Gallery

Jun. 15, 2024 - Jun. 28, 2018

143B Orchard Street
New York, 10002
PHONE 212.477.1188

June 15 – 28, 2018
Opening Reception – Friday, June 15, 6 – 8 pm

Able Fine Art NY Gallery is pleased to present “The Ideal and Reality; Journey of Human Life,” a solo exhibition of Korean artist Sangil Seo, debuting his art to international audiences in New York City. This exhibition will consist of paintings from his series titled ‘Tal’ (the traditional Korean masks for masque performance). Through the use of various masks with specific characters which people are trapped in and/or hide themselves behind, he depicts the gulf between the self-images in epitome and reality. Experimenting with traditional Korean subjects and Western mediums, Seo carefully blurs the line between the two and creates a compelling psychological reference of the figures and their faces. Each mask they wear diminishes their true personalities, individualities, and emotions, generating one specific role to act upon while provoking the audience to realize our struggle in search for true identity.

Although a newly emerging artist, Seo has been the director of Hero Atelier, an art studio in Seoul, Korea. He has dedicated most of his career to teaching and educating the public while using his passion and experience to create his own art. Seo continues to direct and teach at Hero Atelier, at the same time maintaining his aspirations to make unique and creative works of art while debuting them to international audiences.

Dating back to thousands of years ago, Korean masque performances were created as a form of folk entertainment performed to the public. Traditionally, these performances were targeted towards the ordinary and middle class with various types of masks depicting ordinary individuals that can be seen anywhere. The most well-known masks depict grandmothers, brides, social hierarchies, and spiritual characters/animals. Throughout his use of individuals in different masks reflecting different roles, Seo allows viewers to find themselves in each role. The idiosyncratic and defined masks they wear is in correlation to our modern culture where we characterize and adjust ourselves depending on the situation, setting or who we are with. The stage-like setting of Seo’s paintings implies how the world demands us to change roles separating us from our innate feelings. Due to the hidden facial expressions of the figures on Seo’s stage viewers project themselves and find comfort from the dancing figures. Within this series, Seo depicts the individuals in between embodiment and reality. The figures in his works are often chasing or staring at a butterfly which is shown on the same canvas. The passive yet desiring gestures of each individual reflect present-day individuals who wish to be free, but still, step or hold on to the fallen leaf which represents the reality we live in. Seo directly specified that the leaf represents capitalism and our fallen transparent perception of our true selves.

Seo states, “We define ourselves by wearing different masks depending on the situation and place. People can be someone’s child, parent, lover, or colleague.” which connects to the core inquiry: “How do you weigh the value of each mask/persona in your own life?” The question remains unanswered. This open-ended question is an instrument of his artistic career and an invitation for viewers to join in the conversation.

Able Fine Art NY Gallery works with both established and emerging international artists by sharing their worlds with our New York audience. Through the works of burgeoning talent and creative minds, Able Fine Art NY Gallery seeks to create a bridge between cultures, a succession of voices, and the melding of works through art.

Able Fine Art NY Gallery, 143B Orchard Street, NY, NY 10002
Hours: Weds.-Sun. 11-6, for more information contact [email protected] or call 212-477- 1188.

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