Exhibition by Seung Yul Oh opens at TheNewDowse

Published: Tue 22 Dec 2009 11:15 AM
Oh So Mind-Bogling
Playful new exhibition by Seung Yul Oh opens at TheNewDowse
Seung Yul Oh
Bubble, bubble, bogle and trouble… the work of hot, young Auckland artist Seung Yul Oh is full-of-beans. His newly-commissioned show Bogle Bogle opens with a bounce at TheNewDowse on February 13 for the arts festival season and will delight visitors with its mischievous, animal-like shapes and forms.
“I am especially delighted that Oh’s work will be the first in our series of five artists’ projects that have been specially commissioned for 2010,” says Claire Regnault,
TheNewDowse Concept Development Manager.
Known to Wellington audiences for Oddooki, five rocking egg-shaped birds recently displayed on Te Papa’s sculpture terrace, Oh’s work combines elements of East Asian pop culture with ironic references to Western modern art. Humour is the unifying theme in all his colourful creations and sometimes also extends to the delivery of his work - while at art school he had a one night exhibition at which he battered and deep-fried all his paintings, invoking Kiwi-style fish‘n’chips.
Oh says the exhibition title comes from the name of an old computer game that featured a baby dinosaur-like creature shooting bubbles out its mouth to defend itself from the enemy. It’s also, he says, a Korean sound descriptor for stew (soybean stew) bubbling, a sense of which Oh thinks will be conjured-up by his show.
“There is often a sense of movement within the materials he uses; they ooze, drip, bubble, stretch, seep or sag, creating unavoidable allusions to our bodies. Significantly, this approach serves to produce an often physical reaction from his audience…”
Jessica Reid, 2007.
Oh's choice of materials is often as playful and childlike as his works, in the past he has used expanded foam, balloons and popcorn. These contribute to the seemingly effortless nature of Oh’s works, which are actually the result of many hours of intensive labour.
“Every single object is your baby and you work until it is alive to you and it speaks to you,” says Oh. "I do a lot of doodling, every morning and every day, and new forms and new sculptures and anything comes out of them.”
Seung Yul Oh was born in 1981 in Seoul, Korea and moved to Auckland 10 years ago. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2003) and a Master of Fine Arts (2005) from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. In 2004, Oh was awarded the Waikato National Art Award and in 2003, the Goldwater Art Award. Solo exhibitions include, in 2008, Oddooki at Te Papa and Daradaradarada and Ssendddong at Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland. In 2006, Bearing was exhibited at Te Tuhi, Pakuranga; Auckland Artist Projects at Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland; and Chew Chew Tongue at Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland.

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