Goryeo Buddhist paintings on display in Flushing
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Apr 18, 2017 | 1905 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joy Rock's painting of the Water-moon Avalokiteshvara (Credit: Joy Rock)
Joy Rock's painting of the Water-moon Avalokiteshvara (Credit: Joy Rock)
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In honor of Buddha’s birthday, Flushing Town Hall will host an art exhibit featuring three contemporary Korean artists who have inherited and developed the spirit and traditional techniques of Goryeo Buddhist Paintings.

The exhibit, entitled “Mystic and Glamorous,” is a joint collaboration between Flushing Town Hall and the New York Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation.

“As our mission is to bring people together by presenting global arts programming our gallery and theatre, we welcome the opportunity to present these wonderful artists and guests who have traveled to us from around the globe,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director at Flushing Town Hall. “We are delighted to host this magnificent and informative exhibition.”

Artists Joy Rock, Chang Ho Kang, and Seoung Jo Hyun will each showcase work expressing the renaissance in Korean fine arts during the Goryeo Dynasty, the kingdom which later gave name to the modern exonym, Korea.

The kingdom lasted for 474 years, from 918 to 1392, and its people had a strong sense of faith in Buddhism.

All of the artworks were painted on top of silk canvasses and hung on walls with hanging poles. This allowed the pieces to be mobile. Goryeo Buddhist paintings involved the use of gold powder and the technique of coloring the back of the silk canvas. They are distinguishable by patterns of exquisitely drawn lines.

The Buddhist paintings that remain today – about 160 pieces - are all works after Gaegyeong was reestablished as the capital of Goryeo in 1270, according to the exhibit’s organizers.

The art of the Goryeo Dynasty is represented by three distinguished genres: Goryeo Buddhist Painting, Goryeo Pottery, and Goryeo Sutra Transcribing Art. While Goryeo Pottery is well known, many people are less familiar with Buddhist Painting and Sutra Transcribing Art, and are especially unfamiliar with art falling under their subcategories. The artists have focused their careers on Buddhist Painting.

“We hope Americans would have a chance to get to know and appreciate Goryeo Buddhist Paintings, as we plan to expand the exhibition to other cities in the United States,” said Jeeyoung Kim, chairperson, Board of Directors, Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation. “The high quality of Goryeo Buddhist Paintings is already acknowledged, but during the Chosun Dynasty, its heritage did not continue. A small number of devoted artists are uncovering and reestablishing the genre.”

Rock, Kang and Hyun all received Masters in Fine Arts in Buddhist Painting at Yongin University, currently serve in research roles, and have had their works presented in solo and group exhibitions.

While the exhibit runs from April 22 to May 3, there will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free though there is a suggested $5 donation. For further details, visit www.flushingtownhall.org or call (718) 463-7700 x222.

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