Stones, Monuments and Memorials

Industrial textures, textured house paint and plastic laminate and wall paper printed with textures from stone dominate Nara Park’s fantastic display that begins on the ground floor of her Washington DC house / studio. Prismatic pointed shapes emerge from the wall, fractured slices of concrete made of plastic hang from the ceiling, carved grave markers and memorials line the walls of a studio. This is the vision of Nara Park as she investigates simulations of nature as expressions of our desire for immortality. It is important to understand and appreciate the actual materiality of her work in order to fully embrace the transformation of Home Depot industrial materials to meaningful, large scale, conceptual installations and sculpture. This aesthetic shift from man-made to the natural world happens seamlessly throughout all of her work without any suspect. Her formulas for construction are hidden just as the refinement of nature exists in reality. It is this perfection of mathematical order that Park’s looks to for inspiration.

 

In Flow IV, a large framed construction, the size, shape and angle of her rock formations are meticulously created digitally, printed and cut electrically from textured wallpaper and are folded into brilliant 3 dimensional hollow stone shapes. Nara described how she likes to use opposing qualities: hollow inside bulkiness, physical lightness inside visual heaviness.

 

With rigorous patterns and distinct gradient hues, these components are installed as rocky landscapes with views that evoke a feeling of being inside a semi-abstract, pixilated painting of a mountain range. These pieces in particular pose an exercise in contradictions. Physically, these works are self contained and feel like a calm, soothing, seemingly limitless atmospheric experience, yet the sharp points of the industrial material have a distinctly menacing appearance and leave the viewer to question their own perception of reality.

 

This new reality also presents emphatic connections that are addressed as she investigates and synthesizes our relationship to the landscape we live in and the imprint we leave when we are gone. This concept is largely explored through the use of man-made materials that simulate stone that implies memorialization and our historical desire for immortality. Her use of false materials connects the transient nature of life to our disposable, short lived, throw-away society strongly influenced by consumerism.

 

As a child growing up in the industrial city of Seoul, South Korea, she witnessed the use of technology and manufacturing as a way to compensate for a shortage of natural resources. Park’s also found a similar cycle of industrial and technological development in the Western culture where synthetic materials are easily accessible as a

result of the decline of it’s nature resources. With considerable ramifications to our planet, this process is used globally to produce man-made materials to replace natural components. This plasticene material speaks to our culture’s obsession with the immediate and most convenient solution.

 

Park’s mission is to use this form of imitation to inspire a particular visual effect by generating beauty and life from a vast assortment of industrial materials. A certain depth of intrigue is apparent in her large installations that mimic graves and shrines that commemorate the deceased and where Park uses stone to symbolize strength and longevity.

 

This notion later came into question when Park witnessed the death of a loved one and experienced grief leading her to question the notion of permanence. This important milestone and realization catapulted her work into an intense dialect of perception and articulation of immortality.

 

“…Even rocks get worn away by wind and water, and eventually disappear. My use of materials reflects the fact that we what we perceive to be permanent is actually ephemeral.”

 

 

Nara Park’s work will be featured in Cultural DC Mobile exhibition next fall. ( more info here).

 

 

Park holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in General Fine Arts followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she received the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award by the International Sculpture Center and Henry Walters Traveling Fellowship in 2013. She also has received the Young Artist Award from the Trawick foundation and the Hamiltonian Artists Fellowship in 2015. Her work has been on exhibit at numerous venues including Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; Baltimore/Washington International Airport; and Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY. Her work has been featured in the Sculpture magazine, The Washington Post and Artnet News. 

 http://Naraparkstudio.com

 

Credits:

 

(Framed piece downstairs)

Title: Flow IV

Date: 2015

Material: wallpaper

Size: 50” x 33.5” x 5.5”

 

(Hanging piece over the sink)

Title: Disillusioned III

Date: 2017

Material: plastic laminate, monofilament

Size: 51″ x 38.5″ x 9.5″

 

 

 

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