In 2009, my mother was paralyzed on her left side from a stroke. She only watched TV with vacant eyes on the sofa. She wanted to fill the wall with flowers she liked.
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Title: Mother's Garden
Creator: Seo, Sang Ik
Date Created: 2010
Physical Dimensions: w1622 x h1303 cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Critic's Note: Melting Afternoon was Seo’s first solo show in which his inherent unique technique stood out. Seo represents daily life in the limited space of his studio (Time for the Lambs / 4:00 pm Sunday Afternoon), and presents an exquisite combination of a film scene and a moment of his private life (Ezekiel Chapter 25 Clause 17). Although the way of a spectacle melding of fantasy with daily life, illusion with reality is not his distinctive style, his work is particularly marked by the element of with and humor.
Facing Seo’s work we encounter the space of a new narrative through an act of ‘viewing’, like the rabbit taking Alice to wonderland, or Marcel who eats madeleine with tea and sinks into her childhood memory. The images from film, daily life, literature, or Seo’s imagination elicit new spaces and narratives. The act of viewing his paintings is like reading a fairytale, and animals and motifs popping out of his paintings are like ushers leading us into his work. Strolling through his painting makes viewers smile with his wit and humor.
Artist's Note: A play between dry Daily-life and Wet imagination."Daily life" is a phrase worn-out and banal that wears you out with its none-too-subtle hint of tediousness. Work place, school, computers and cell phones; the spaces and objects around us certainly seem rigid and dry when we observe them with a disinterested eye. However, we can sink in to this dry daily life, watering it with our imagination. We do not perceive our ordinary lives with perfect objectiveness (which would be impossible). We endlessly pursue the sphere of imagination while striving through our repetitive daily lives. Thus every moment of our seemingly dull and tedious lives are never repeated or replicated. We live not in the superficial and material world, but a world with imagination, or perhaps in-between of these two spheres. I combine these two worlds in my painting to show the genuinity of everyday life. The daily life that defines what I consist of or what proves who I am. My paintings become a theatrical space where daily life and imagination can coexist. I use photograph-based images when combining these two worlds in my paintings. It is to represent the 'proof of existence' through photographs, which raises tensions between imagination and actual scenes. Moreover it is a solution to create a complete world of my own. Maybe the most important points of my work is severe narcissism and attachment to my life.Sometimes my works are compared to surrealist paintings. They certainly have some similarities with surrealism in its manner of expression. However, surrealism tries to show the unconscious and destroy the value system of the material world, while I want to concentrate on the coexistence and boundary of the two worlds. The unconsciousness of the surrealists clearly has some similarities with imagination, but not without distinct differences. Currently, My paintings right are about my personal daily life. This might seem to some as personal reflections or narcissism at the extreme. However, I believe my daily life can be communicated and empathized with other members of our society who exist in the same time and space. To express the world and its context around me while sharing it with others through my painting is what I hope for, for now.
Artist's Education: Seoul National University, B.F.A., Painting, and in progress of graduate studies, Painting.