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1982. 11. 28 KOREA TIMES

1982. 11. 28 KOREA TIMES

Painter's 'Sense of Life' - Expressed Thru Rye Fields



Painter's 'Sense of Life'
Expressed Thru Rye Fields

  Ten of 19 Oriental brush paintings featured in ms. Lee Sook-ja's first solo exhibit in five years, Dec. 3-8, are about rye fields, a dominant motif over the years.
  In her usually large canvases, up to 364 cm x 228 cm, rye fie인 appears misty violet, white or yellow as well as green with a super realistic touch softened by her favorite grey tones.
  "There is a sure reason for these large canvases," said Ms. Lee, grand prize winner of the 1980 National Art Exhibition's Oriental brush painters. "It's been a lasting obsession for me to put on canvas the tremendous sense of life I feel from rye fields."
  Her association with rye fields started in early spring of 1977, when she happened to stop at a rye field at the outskirts of seoul.
  "The endless green wave of the field was stunning. An immediate sensation ran through my body; I felt a sudden thirst for green. And that started my frustration with colors - hard to grasp and hard to put on my canvases."
  The elusive moments of physical growth phases in rye, which Ms. Lee perceives through color, have left her "unfulfilled" despite repeated challenges to canvas later on.
  "I feel almost helpless when it comes to the gold waves of ripe rye, which remind me of a triumphant prince in all his grandeur."
  A grain of rye is translated into more than 20 dots on her super realistic canvas, and she usually applies "hundreds of thousands" of dots for detail.
  To add a kind of cubic effect the artist uses artificial stone powders fastened with glue to help her realist strokes work.
  "It's an endless job ever... I spend days dotting 10 hours a day."
  The Oriental brush worker, in her 20th year as a painter, first started imitating folk craft, the theme of her first solo exhibit in 1973, before turning to still life and finally to rye fields.
  "I'm not sure yet whether my obsession with rye fields is over. Nor do I have any particular subject to turn to."
  A graduate of both Hongik University's Oriental Brush Painting department and graduate school, MS. Lee had been a serious challenger at the national Art Exhibition through the 1960s and '70s, winning the grand prize at the ___________ exhibit in 1980.
  Through the 20 years of painting, a strong "desire to escape" has given her several hard times to cope with. "after months of hard work, 10 hours a day and being full of life, there always seemed to be rocks in the road when my job was about 60 percent done."
  "When I couldn't escape frustration, I would give up. I just stayed in bed for a few days, waiting for something like inspiration or I started another piece.
  "My habitual manic-depressive psychosis is largely due to my obsession for pressure or work holism. But recovery is also just as quick sometimes. I once strolled into Namdaemun Market and felt relieved - the sense of life at the marketplace was a great help."
  Mother of two sons, Ms.Lee lectures at both her alms mater Hongik University, and Mokwon College in Taejon.
  Her exhibit will be open through Dec. 8 at the Art Hall of the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation in Tongsung-dong, Seoul. (CKA)