Night Swimming
Min ha Park
November 5 – December 27, 2016

Encountering the sea—vast, numinous, and alive—at night, what do you see? How do you see in darkness when your sight is compromised? Do you see the white noise of the waves engulfing you? Can you make out light at night? In Night Swimming, her first U.S. solo show at Skibum MacArthur, Min ha Park dives into this liminal space, rendering the night seascape in her expressive, affective abstract paintings.

Turning to sound where vision falls short, Min ha’s paintings are nocturnes in inky blue. Dark but not lugubrious, the wide expanses of woozy, brushy blue in Beat Wave are rhythmically punctuated by flashes of brash red, green, and yellow. In Mirror Horizon and Noise Float, black and white stripes ripple across the canvas in a smooth tempo, interjected by lyrical doodles and gradient orbs evoking horizons. Min ha’s penchant for discordant, fluorescent colors are informed by her daily life in Seoul, a sprawling, cacophonic metropolis brightly lit by neon signs collaged onto towering edifices.

In Min ha’s lifetime, Korea’s rapid industrialization was followed by even faster digitalization, and our engagements with images on electronic devices charge her aesthetic concerns as well. She often makes quick sketches of everyday impressions on her tablet, and digital markmaking and layered compositional strategies often translate into her paintings. And while her graphic, colorful canvases are striking on the screen, Min ha is firmly invested in the medium of painting—her lush brushstrokes in oil paint defying easy capturing. Similarly, Min ha’s new furniture pieces, sculpted in foam by hand and painted in acrylic, may look like disembodied elements of her paintings when flattened in documentation, yet are resolutely grounded in their physical being. They invite the viewer to interact and perhaps take a moment to sit on them to contemplate the paintings slowly, like one would the night seas.

Min ha Park (b. 1984 South Korea) lives and works in Seoul, Korea. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Art and MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2011. Recent projects include a solo show at Alter Ego (Seoul, Korea), under the same title Night Swimming, and a three-person show Unseen Garden at One and J (Seoul, Korea). Park also works closely with the fashion industry in Seoul, collaborating with brands like Adidas, KYE, and Lucky Chouette, and her work has been featured in publications such as Dazed and Confused, Marie Claire, and Harper’s Bazaar Korea. She currently teaches painting at Sookmyung University.