Friday, 21 November 2014 10:27

Global Conversations: East Meets West in Michigan

Written by  Kerri VanderHoff
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Wired & Wrapped: Sculpture by Seungmo Park
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Dec. 20, 2014 - March 15, 2015 (269) 349-7775

Contemporary art at its best surprises you. It offers you something you haven’t seen before and often alters your perspective.

Wired & Wrapped: Sculpture by Seungmo Park, opening Dec. 20 at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA), promises to do just that.

The exhibition is the second of three shows the KIA is presenting in the 2014-15 season by artists originating in China, Korea and Japan. Park maintains a studio in his native Seoul, as well as others in New York and Berlin.

Wired & Wrapped first opened this past summer at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, organized by the museum’s executive director Gene Jenneman. Jenneman travels extensively in East Asia, attending conferences, meeting with artists and keeping abreast of the growing conversations in contemporary art.

Some of the most interesting art I’ve seen in years is coming out of Asia,” Jenneman said. “We live in a global world now, and any museum that has the capacity should consider these experiences in their exhibition schedule.”

Jenneman noted the international rise of China and Asia in general, with the cultural changes that accompany the shift, are reflected in unusual and personal ways through the eyes of the artists living there. Jenneman collaborated with several other museums across Michigan, including KIA, to offer a broad geographic reach for the traveling exhibition, allowing visitors statewide to engage in this global conversation.

Parks’ exhibition at the Dennos received a gratifying public response, drawing in new audiences. And as a result, KIA staff is thrilled to be welcoming the exhibition to the southwest region this month.

"We're delighted that art lovers from Kalamazoo and beyond will have an opportunity to see and experience the work of this exciting young artist from Korea,” said Vicki C. Wright, director of collections and exhibitions.

The work presented in Wired & Wrapped takes two approaches: ephemeral and object-based, each focused on extreme detail.

"Seungmo Park’s works are quietly vibrant, captivating and contemplative," said Belinda Ann Tate, KIA executive director. "The illusory nature of his works and distinctive use of medium offer us an unexpected perspective on the human body and the world around us.”

Parks’ Maya series features large-scale portraits and landscape scenes. The work is suspended from the ceiling and features meticulously cut layers of wire mesh. The illusion, when viewed from a direct angle, is uncannily life-like even in its dream-like quality. Shift to a side view and the image disappears, hidden within hanging sheets of gray screens.

As with all great works of art, and especially in this instance, descriptions and photographs simply won’t do it justice. The organizers and collaborators have worked hard to ensure the exhibition arrives at a city near you. For West Michigan residents, luckily the opportunity lands this month in our very own Kalamazoo.


UICA Holiday Artist Market
Steelcase Town Hall, Grand Rapids
Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dec. 7, noon-5 & 7 p.m., (616) 454-7000

UICA's Holiday Artist's Market is back for its 26th year. This highly anticipated event draws thousands of visitors and is a great place for any holiday shopper looking to find the most unique and special gifts. In order to accommodate a larger number of participating artists, UICA hosts this year's event at the Steelcase Town Hall on 44th Street.

Vinecroft Studios Holiday Artists Market
Vinecroft Studios, Grand Rapids
Dec. 6 & 13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (616) 785-3428

A perennial favorite, this collection of art and artists comes together to make holiday shopping both easier and more rewarding. Meet the artists and enjoy warm conversation, as you are welcomed into this cozy studio on the city’s northwest side. A wide variety of gift ideas including turned wood objects such as vases, boxes, toy tops, ornaments, bowls, platters; felted dolls, fashion, accessories, original paintings, letterpress printed note cards, barware, beaded jewelry, sculpture, photographs, snow globes, purses and more.

LowellArts! Holiday Market
LowellArts! Gallery
Through Dec. 23
Open daily Tuesday through Saturday, (616) 897-8545

The LowellArts! King Gallery has been transformed into a unique shopping destination for the holidays featuring works by more than 40 area artisans. It is a great opportunity to purchase handmade items including: basketry, bead work, beeswax candles, glass work, jewelry, metal work, ornaments, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture, soap, textiles and wood working. This is a juried show, with participating artists from around the region. Check the website for special demonstrations throughout the holiday season.

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