Review of Paintings by Youngsook Park 10/28/17 to 1/23/18
Reviewed works: Hope and Reminiscence II by Young Sook Park
By Wesley Pulkka PhD
Global citizen and contemporary abstract impressionist painter Young Sook Park is also an exceptional exhibition curator with numerous successful international shows on her resume. Her ability to select well executed artwork by artists from all around the world while finding a common aesthetic thread has given many artists access to important venues in Europe, Asia, the Near East and the USA.
Park loves to chronicle her travel adventures on canvas. Her subjects range from Southwestern American rural landscapes and traditional adobe architecture to modern constructivist-style European, American and Asian urban narrative vignettes replete with rainy, light-streaked streets filled with automobiles and human figures.
Park uses urban scenes to create abstract impressionist compositions like “Reminiscence II” that take full advantage of the reflections created by a nocturnal rainstorm and the play of light across water laden pavement that echo the lighting effects found in James McNeill Whistler’s “Nocturne in Black and Gold - The Falling Rocket” of 1874 or Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” of 1642.
Park’s nocturnal paintings are generally metropolitan scenes that benefit from full palette night lighting that turns moisture coated gray concrete and black asphalt into shimmering celebratory rainbow affirmations of metropolitan life.
In “Hope” an urban scene that may be based upon the artist-friendly port city of Busan in South Korea, Park depicts the almost claustrophobic stacking process of municipal architecture. In this composition and others like it Park uses architecture as a patterning device to manifest an almost musical but steadfastly visual rhythm.
Park’s city scenes often contain the cube forms found in George Brach’s “Houses on a Hillside” series circa 1907 as well as Pablo Picasso’s early forays into cubism while remaining part of her highly personal visual vocabulary that includes a playfulness with scale. Park may paint a mural depicting a life-size figure on a bicycle crossing an urban intersection and hang it next to an eight by ten-inch painting of an entire city street or landscape panorama.
Her flexibility of scale is followed by her insatiable appetite for subject matter which is all inclusive. Park is capable of finding aesthetic value in almost any environment from a fishing boat in Italy to a bicycle on a street in Seoul, South Korea or a decaying adobe hut in Northern New Mexico. Through skillful drawing and painting techniques and a strong palette Park can apprehend the beauty in any situation.
The results of Park’s skillset are not just surrogate photorealistic vignettes like Phillip Estes but are able to convey to the viewer the spirit and narrative within a particular naturalistic scene.
For Park nature is the starting point like the beginning paragraph in a heroic saga that is followed buy an epic story. Each new image is a page in an endless visual poem about contemporary life and human perception.
What makes Park a truly rare artist is her boundless generosity toward other artists whose work she embraces to build upon and embellish her own work in group exhibitions all over the world.
Through her curatorial efforts Park is building a complex of bridges between Western European, American and Asian cultures that promote understanding, aesthetic appreciation and mutual global respect.