Jeonghan Yun and Choonhyang Yun's Trees Make Art is a delicate and sophisticated fusion of Asian and Western papermaking techniques refined to create Zen paintings of handmade dyed paper. These works call the viewer into an intimate connection with the timeless essence of the natural world.
Each piece is constructed of hand-rendered paper incorporating a variety of colors and textures. Traditional Asian papermaking techniques are utilized, involving the peeling, grinding, steaming and dying of the paper mulberry tree, known in South Korea as the Dak tree.
As a boy, Jeonghan played games with the bark of the mulberry tree. When he went to art school, he was attracted to the Zen-like Abstract Expressionism but felt that he needed to find his own artistic vision. He remembered the Dak bark, and had a familiarity with traditional Asian approaches to papermaking. He found his artistic vision was to use the Dak bark to create a handmade paper that was strong, durable and dyeable.
At art school, he met Choonhyang, his future wife. She was working on a school project and needed help moving the panels. They connected, and have been working together ever since. She says that Jeonghan comes up with the concepts; she works the details.
The couple imports Dak bark from South Korea to their home in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. They boil, bake and process the bark outdoors, where they could only work on clear warm days. It takes about one month to complete a project.
The work has a Zen quality that is best appreciated over time. Their largest painting, Paper Play 1321, a mural sized 96" x 144" is rich in muted earth tones with strong blacks and a touch of red reminiscent of the paintings of Franz Kline. The Yun's work draws from nature and over time, floral impressions are visible. The paintings, while relaxing, have a quality and texture that increasingly draws you into the image.
The exhibition Trees Make Art is on exhibit July 20 through Aug. 25 at the Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation, 20 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe.
Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and by appointment by contacting Michelle Neifert at (570) 872-6466, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.