Leila Heller Gallery presents All That Cascades, sculptural Korean-born artist Ran Hwang’s solo exhibition who is mostly famous for her painstakingly made large wall installations. The show will end tomorrow, on April 30, 2023.
Although Hwang is originally trained as a painter, her art making process features using such everyday materials as pins, threads, buttons (including paper ones), beads, and crystals. She adheres them to Plexiglas and wooden panels. The artist’s work cascades, made of buttons, crystals, beads, and threads on pins, which rise above the surfaces from which they protrude to cast shadows and form pictures of chandeliers, vases, and classical Asian subjects: Buddhas, waterfalls, trees, temples, birds, and flowers.
Hwang’s artworks are a series of isolated actions that combine to form larger works. Single particles are joined together to create greater cascading movements or motion, waves of substance. Each art piece is carefully placed to depict something like motion, with one layer positioned over another.
Classical Asian motifs in Hwang’s works are inspired by growing up in a Buddhist household: her father was a teacher in a temple. Hwang is fascinated with Zen Buddhism; it is a crucial part of her creative process. Paper buttons which she uses to create her artworks are made by herself: she hammers each one about 25 times until it is secure. The artist describes this process, which requires concentration and discipline, as meditative, through which the repetition of the hammering evokes a Zen-like discipline.
About the artist
Ran Hwang (b. 1960, Busan, South Korea) lives and works in Seoul and New York City. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts (New York, USA) and MFA from the School of Arts in Chung-Ang University (Seul, South Korea).
While studying at the School of Visual Arts, Hwang worked in an embroidery design studio. There, she stumbled upon boxes of unused buttons and, being struck by the lack of attention they received, started to use them to make small collage pieces and later her first large installation in Soho on her studio wall.
In 2001, Hwang witnessed the 9/11 attack from her own window. She was deeply affected by the tragedy which made her contemplate life, death, and rebirth and think about causes of terror and the effects of violence on individuals. These are the themes she has been exploring in her art ever since. Hwang also has addressed more current subjects: the fashion industry and female identities in pop culture.
Hwang has her art displayed in numerous art events including solo and group exhibitions and art fairs: Becoming Again, The Baker Museum, Artis-Naples, Florida, USA (2022); Hope Springs Eternal, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA (2021); The Flight of Time, Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2019); Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore (2017); Visual Symphony, Asian Art Works, Busan, Korea (2016); Regeneration, Opera Gallery Paris, Paris, France (2015); Asian Collection, Asian Art Works, Beijing, China (2014); Paths to Peace, Guild Hall Gallery at Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, North Salem, New York, USA (2013); LA Art Show 2023, Los Angeles, USA; Diaf 2022 (Daegu International Art Fair), Daegu, Korea; and many others.
Hwang has received multiple awards and grants: Gold Prize, The 1st Contemporary Visual Arts Competition, AHL Foundation, New York, USA (2004); Gold Prize, Korean Watercolor Association, Seoul, Korea (1995); AHL-Jason J. Kim Grant 2017, AHL Foundation, New York, USA (2017); Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation New York, USA (2015), to name a few. Hwang has also taken part in several residency programs, which include the PS122 Studio Residency Program; the AAI-Artist Alliance; and the Vermont Studio Center Residency Program.
The artist’s work is also featured into many private and public collections, such as The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Des Moines Center for the Arts, Iowa; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; The Hammond Museum, North Salem, New York; Raffles Hotel Singapore, Singapore; Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Greece; EURIA company, Tour Carpe Diem Paris La Defense, France; and others.
To find more information about the show, please visit its official web page.
You may also be interested in visiting Twilight and Debris at 1X1 Art Gallery.