menu 1
menu 2
menu 3
menu 4
menu 5


Jungwook Grace Rim
108 Bows for 108 Anxieties

April 3 ~ 29
Opening Reception 4/3 (Thu.) 6~8pm

February 2008, 60 " x 112", 29 Digital Prints, 2008

As early as the 1990s Jungwook Grace Rim used text which imbued her works with a conceptual aspect. She also began to examine varying points of view and positive negative space in her cylinder series drawings that contain a cylinder/glass that appears less than half full. Its oval shape drawn on the white paper appears as negative space that simultaneously because of its outline can be read as positive. The pictorial space around this form is dotted with circles and crosses that can be read literally as the symbols of love and kisses or according to eastern philosophy. In fact throughout her artistic career Rim utilizes these elements along with hearts, the oval, and lettering to convey her feelings as they pertain to the world around her. These symbols continue to be present in Rim’s oeuvre and represent her maturity as an artist but they also forecast her future direction.

From left: Kiss, 29" x 21", Pencil Thread, Acrylic on Canvas, 2007,
34"x 25", collage, thread, color pencil, acrylic on canvas,
Working on Peace,
28" x 35", collage, oil, oil pastel, thread and pencil on canvas

To understand Rim’s work one must know it in its entirety and with its underlying philosophical framework. It is crucial to understand that she emigrated to the U.S. from South Korea and comes from a rich historic culture. Korean society is very much invested in the ritual and ceremony of four prevalent religious philosophies; Confucianism that advocates filial piety, loyalty and is used for state and family organization and decorum; Buddhism whose goal is the liberation from an endless cycle of reincarnations and shamanism that is animistic in its tribal ritualistic nature beliefs; Taoism that is also animistic but stresses ethics, patience, simplicity, and harmony and is most likely responsible for the fundamental need in Korean society for a harmonious existence which led to the successful combination of all these religions. Rim’s work embodies these eastern philosophies in her ever present circles that appear even in her recent works such as Divine Tent, 2007 done for the tent project in Kassel, Venice and New York. This beautiful eerily colored blue work with celestial references contains circles that appear to coalesce on the top and bottom while dispersing in the middle portion. Because of its divine allusions these circles can be read as Ensos that in Japanese means “circles” that is a powerful Seon sign usually appearing in calligraphy. It symbolizes strength, the cosmos, spiritual beauty, enlightenment and emptying of the mind as well as being an expression of the ephemeral moment which allies it with a gestural art. Buddhist practice is heavily invested in ritualistic repetition that according to Seon belief can lead to enlightenment. This aspect resonates with Rim’s latest works entitled 108 Bows inspired by her own and her family’s lifelong practice of bowing. Prostrating oneself 108 times according to Rim means "repenting 108 times" for the sake of cleansing earthly desires to balance the scales of accumulated karma. The 29 candy pink photographs concordant with the February calendar contain prayer beads that are laid out in a chronological order as if cells that appear to multiply and pile up as the days pass. They are laid out on the gallery walls like calendar days and are accompanied by a video depicting this film strip movement and the aspect of accumulation like the karmic cycle. Rim’s recent textual references are to Buddhism for she has been inscribing her works with the Buddhist prayer 'Ban Ya Shim Kyung'. Rim more than ever partakes of cutting and sewing her elements onto and from canvas. Rim’s leitmotif the wedge arises from the cylinder series and her use of cut outs can be seen in Untitled, 2007 a canvas in white color with green, purple, orange and pink accents. Finally it must be stated that although Rim’s works can be read in terms of Eastern philosophies this doesn’t preclude interpretation by western standards.

Many Horizons, 65" x 48", oil, acrylic, Buddhist beads, thread, collage on canvas, 2006

Purple Ban Ya Shim Kyung II, acrylic and sand on canvas, 2007


Like us on Facebook!

Join our: *Music, Workshops & Events mailing list and/or *Fine Arts mailing list

Tenri Cultural Institute    School of Japanese Language    Gallery    Performing Arts    Tenrikyo Church    Home