Subtle Collision, Seemingly Precarious Connection


Kim, Yong dae / Curator, Ho-Am Art Museum


At a first glance, works of Seungtaik Jang seems to lack stories of any  kind. Stories. in this case, refers to the immediate impressionistic aspects from the point of conceptual perspectives in the most general sense. Thus the artist' s works often conjure up a sense of a term so-called abstraction.

On the contrary to what is conceived at an instant moment, the significance  of Seungtaik Jang' s works lies in the hidden stories, though his stories carry concrete neither structure nor form. instead. Jang introduces highly symbolic elements to his canvas, in which his unique language of plastic methodology combines the formal and substantial facets of his system of symbolic elements The formal element, in his terms, Pertains to materiais as  medium through which he can experience the process of "discovery," an assumption that allows a passage through a filtration to reach the  unconscious settled underneath the man himself

His way of coming to the conscious of matters is expressed in the manner in which the artist recognizes the characteristics of materials in hands as well as brings out his unique style of "selectivity." in kind his selection of material leads to suggesting a completely new form and methods sprouting from the artist' s attempt to utilize his experience and will of creation. This very groundwork supports the baseline of Seungtaik Jang' s critical point of work it signifies the unification of amorphous and abstract pulling force derived from his concept of man' s unconsciousness so that a simple and amorphous object obtains the Iife and vitality For Jang Seung-taik, the entire process of such a development is the core essence of creative action. Through the actions of the artist, the series of works are reborn to be a second form which then transported to the fundamental encounter between the moving and the non-moving and ultimately proved be the same ongin of the two seemingly different elements

As a means to convey the stones that Jang intends to express, he employs the concept of time, the absolute value. Two prominent element involved in his concept of absolute value involves fire and heat both of which allow him to overcome the subtle gap of time span. In this respect, Jang' s choice of matenals, among others, such as the combining of beeswax and paraffine seems Iike an inevitability. Flexiglass, charactenzed by transparency and devised by the artist himself ,has been
used as is evident from his latest series of works. Jang s oil painting, using the artisf s palm of the hand, is produced, with layers of thick paints so far as the color of acrylic paint underneath was visible. It is a sign of the artist' s interest in color. Seungtaik Jang is aIso an avid explorer of body and action dunng the completion of a painting.

   Seungtaik Jang' s new experiment with flexiglass to bring out the utmost quahty of transparency and materiality as a medium is unmistakably a   barometer that shows 'the innovative step forward from his conventional drawinqs and cutting techniques Two opposing perspectives-transparency and matenalityUcreated by the flexiglass successfully conducts the ]ittery  tpnsion to a dramatic contrasting effects.

   This very aspect of his flexiglass paintings adds mysterious air of secrecy to his creative action taking full advantage of "the alternating enerrgy of human body" in order that a support and paint come into a single unity As  a result, flexiglass as a material, personal experience, and unconsciousness end up conjoining at one point and regress to the nascent origin. Seungtaik Jang' s effort could be viewed in terms of search and action of principle of yin-yang. If the outer presence of an object is regarded as yang, the emanating "resonance" from this paintings reflect the yin, represented by the ideals, spiritual experience, and stream of thoughts, that eventually concludes as a proof towards the infinite possibility ahead. Therefore, Seungtaik Jang's "storyless" painting is an endeavoring act of tracing back to the process of creation yet firmly grounded on logical premises.

  In the mind of Seungtaik Jang, changes of perspectives and consciousness is not a mere representation of personal stylistic shifts but a holistic alteration of his life as a whole from the bottom of his basis. Since man is opt to be affected by the surroundings, Jang cannot be an exception as an reciipient from constantly changing variable factors of the latest trends in the current art world. However. Seungtaik Jang is notable in that he took an active step to discover his new surroundings instead of remaining a passive receptor to what is given around him which, in the end, came to an fruition of his own new, affitmative yet profound form.

  Seungtaik Jang's esthetic sense towards nature has become increasingly mulity-faceted and exhibited quiet power. The outer presence of his paintings are ever so quiet and sensitive, but the inner content is kicking and screaming in fear and curiosity. Curiosity is expressed as a form of positive and aggressive action while fear is represented as a denial of the negative aspects of the emotion in pursuit of a hight level of exaltation. Jang overturned fear into an essential motif and basis for the creative energy.

  In continuation of such a context, Seungtaik Jang has learned to recognize the mighty power of absolute veing-the light-and the importance of "silence" as a representation of man's will. He also acquired that the bottomless pit so-called fear does not exist by itself and determined to transform it into a more active form of action, that is curiosity. Jang's inborn tendency of stron curisity has been transformed into the output of a series of his paintings. Relatively systematic series of his paintings in the early 90s are particularly noticeable in that respect.

 Two opposing concepts-fear and curiosity- encounter and create a delicate subtlety to the extent that could be termed "subtle collision, seemingly precarious connection." The point made here could be something relevant to the man's inescapable bounds to the destiny of fatality and the sense of fear involved. In order to overcome that, the artist tather attempts to articulate the relationship between himself and the fear of death by distinguishing the boundaries of the entity of existence and non-existence

  Furthermore, this attempt could be interpreted as the artist's solemn commitment to probing the origins of worldly phenomena and thus find a proof of the origin by means of a simple evidential matters."

   What is extracted from arduous experiment with his inner self could be referred "open slit." or gap. The probability of the existence of "open slit" is an entity of subject and object in one unity. In this line, the pursuit of Seungtaik Jang to bring out the contrasting relationship between fear and curiosity cannot meet the point of compromise with his another ideal to conjoin the light-the absolute entity-and immortal being. representing the artist himself. Jang is still under the laborious process of finding the narrow the "open slit" of the two uncompromising existences and eventually understand his current stance. It is wholly left to be solbed for the artist in times to come.

  Seungtaik Jang' s works exhibit several significant points to be acknowledged in technical aspects Subtle usage and application of colors  and layers of signals as if reminding viewers of geological strata images.

  The colors on the surface appears to be a mixture of ordinary oil paints as it is in reality: however, if observed closely, it is a result of meticulous labors of  layering paints so that the multiple overlay of paints could create quality ofsubtle radiance and mystery. Adding to that, the artist actively makes use of his hands, a part of his body, in the action of painting which is an incorporation of the element of physical actions into his canvas. For Seungtaik Jang, paintings as an action is not merely a result of created images of an artist' s mind but a life and breath of a living human-being. Thus the painting of Jang is a meeting point of breath and visuality conjoining into one in the sense of time, and the subtle effects of colors are the vehicles to convey such a imposing result. The thought system is carried out in the actions of the artist in disguise of colors.

  The colors of Seungtaik Jang is a culmination of man' s body and breath of life under the guidance of inwards speculation combined with invincible light, In the process, the artist opens up a new possibility to come in touch with countless individuals of anonymity. After all, colors that coming into man' s senses take forms of  infinitesimal particles yelling out the inner self of  an artist through a set of systematic actions.

Preface of Park Ryu Sook Gallery exhibition in 1998.