Kukje Gallery is pleased to present 'Prosaic Landscape', an exhibition of new paintings by Choong-Hyun Roh from June 13 through July 14.
This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery—his work was also shown in a three-person exhibition titled 'On Painting' in 2007. 'Prosaic Landscape' brings together twenty-five landscape paintings of the Han River. The title of the exhibition evokes a central theme of the artist’s practice based on his emotional experiences in the ordinary and tranquil landscapes found in and around the corners of Seoul.
'Prosaic Landscape' includes a stunningly diverse compilation of viewpoints, capturing not only different locations, but the changing seasons and weather patterns throughout the year. In the first ground floor gallery of K1, Roh presents paintings of nightscapes. These are followed by a series of snow-covered, mid-winter landscapes in the larger adjacent gallery. On the second floor, the artist presents summer landscapes—primarily depicting the rainy season. In all of these unique portraits, the Han River seems both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, a tension based on the artist’s ability to translate the physical world into an abstract place in his memories. His chosen subjects are also distinguished by his capturing them during dramatic events such as in heavy snow or rain. Roh’s quiet yet powerful paintings compel the viewer to reflect on the sentimental mood of a given place, along with the way time changes and defines a landscape. This effect is not necessarily caused by a concrete or historical approach to his subject, but rather it is an expression or re-imagination of the textures of the landscape. This is based on the visual perceptual memories of the artist, who has devoted his practice to closely observing the ordinary natural phenomena such as the changing of the seasons.
In 'Prosaic Landscape', Choong-Hyun Roh skillfully captures the emotional power that landscapes embody, honing his capacity for subtle observation and his mastery of paint to evince the profound truth found in nature. Choong-Hyun Roh’s practice has focused intensely on this commitment to observing nature since at least 2005 when he began his series 'Prosaic Landscape'.
The title ‘Prosaic Landscape’ can be understood as alluding to “a highly solitary and quiet landscape,” a definition that fits perfectly the artist’s stated interests. The original series is inspired by and focuses on the area in Han River Park near Hapjeong Station, a place where the artist often took long walks. The Han River provides a dramatic contrast to the intensity of Seoul, which is structural, rigid, and dense. Han River Park, on the other hand, is vacant, tranquil, and a place that is open and easily accessible to the public. Often using photographs of this place as a starting point, Roh departs from pure realism instead focusing on how he felt at the time of his walks in nature. By filtering his artistic vocabulary through memory, he is able to transcend the specificity of the place, thereby creating unique and powerful works of art that evoke a dreamlike sentiment, as if these places do not exist at all.
Choong-Hyun Roh (1970-) received B.A. and M.F.A from Hongik University. Roh has presented his works from his 'Prosaic Landscape, Zari' (Place), and 'Closed-Door Room' series in various solo and group exhibitions since 2005. His solo exhibitions include exhibitions at Johyun Gallery in 2011, Project Space SARUBIA in 2009, Art Space Pool in 2006, and KwanHoon Gallery in 2005. He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including Arko Art Center in 2012, Busan Biennale and Seoul Museum of Art in 2008, and Kukje Gallery in 2007.