Art Fairs International Newspaper/ New York Issue#11 2010
p. 18 Hye Ja Moon - Logan Riley(a critic, New York)
Kaleidoscopic collision of color, pattern, and form thrust themselves toward each other in Hye Ja Moon’s lively body of work. In approaching them for the first time, it is hard to know what to focus on. The viewer is bombarded with a jumble of contrasting pieces, piling on top of each other to create a hodgepodge of imagery, but nonetheless, quite eloquently managing to form a cohesive style of formations that become characteristic of the artist’s work as whole.
Color plays an essential and defining role in Moon’s paintings. Incorporating soft, baby blues and light pinks; bold, spirited oranges; strong, defining reds; and the most electrifying yellows, the artist pushes the play on color by intently focusing on the level of saturation for the color palette, ensuring that the colors convey the greatest potential energy. The artist’s add-ins of black and blackish-gray sections contribute quite an interesting effect to her otherwise vibrant landscapes. When these colors are suddenly juxtaposed to something so very muted and subdued, it makes their fervor and life vibrate in comparison.
Zigzags of yellow makes their way across darkened patches, pulsating with an alarming presence. Similarly, bright crimson staccato marks can be found on green, orange, organic forms. Having such a contrast creates a sort of pricking effect, conveying something that the viewer, in a sense, can “feel” . These kind of tactile translations are quite prevalent and established a visual motif in Moon’s work. Sharpened blocks of a medial purple jab to and from the central conglomeration of shapes that form the focal point in one painting. With an overlapping, gauzy mesh of orange line forming on top of these purple regions, a visual push and pull is established, creating once again an illusion that three-dimensionally, almost as if one would be able to reach out and grab it.
As touched upon previously the patterns the artist encompasses in her paintings suggest an element of tangibility. Seen from afar, Moon’s compositions employ these patterns to describe a feeling of texture. These crossroads in sensory perception produce a kind of psychedelic experience, a state of confusion or limbo between our every–day reality and an imaginary happening suggested through an plethora of sensations communicated concurrently. While witnessing rainbows in the sky, flowers in bloom, pebbles in the grass, etc. all at once, the viewer enters a space between space, something close of kin to memory or dreams, but fueled with a surreal intensity found in the graphic coloring and patterns.
Bright primary colors compose these excited paintings. Harsh contrast are made, but the joyful nature of the colors keeps these pieces feeling young, playful ,and oh so alive. The patterning, as well, makes for a sharp, but simple, rhythmic, and harmonious atmosphere. While both contributing unique factors unto themselves, together these facets of Moon’s work applied in addition to the occasional pockets of representational imagery, develop a strange dynamic. The color palette standing on its own is reminiscent of Po art; and all of this is combined with windows of every-day objects and scenes, a twisted, perplexed reality comes to the surface.
Taking a turn from prior descriptions, Moon’s alternate series of paintings possess a much more organic, softer, and lighter feel to them. Often depicting compositions of flowers, plants, and other natural inspirations, with a careful, quiet approach. Moon treats these pieces with a delicacy not found in other works. Whimsy, airy brushstrokes grace the artist’s canvas, translating a real feel for the outdoor setting. The viewer can feel almost as if they are being lifted away with the wind. Gentle pinks and blues, along with hushed purples and pale yellows compose a tranquil mood to each piece. These pieces are solemn, solitary, usually existing of a single flower or group of flowers, either outside of indoors collected in vase. These pieces’ subtle nature is defined by their color palette and lonesome subject matter.
Straying not so far these down-played pieces are another series of work similar, but a tad more brave. Vibrant lime greens take on a strong role as a unifying visual motif. Placed against the more naturalistic, representational colors that could very well be taken from life, these jolts of an almost neon green mix in an excitement and liveliness that remains absent in the previously mentioned work. Additionally, these works appear to have a much stronger, bolder application of paint. Thickening in concentrated sections of visual emphasis, the artist’s mark creates focal points and areas of interest that the viewer is initially drawn in by and returns to again and again. Against the other sections of smoothly perfected surfaces, these areas sit on top of their surroundings, literally creating an element of three-dimensionality, skewing and altering the expected flat surface.
Hye Ja Moon’s pieces varies from a crisp and cleanly structured chaos to the ethereal, delicacy of a gracefully rendered nature. With numerous studies at each of the spectrum, and at almost every place in between, Moon’s body of work displays an impressive scope of her techniques, abilities, and personality as a painter.