Hyeja Moon, Swinging on Canvas [SEO SEONG ROK /2012]
*Abstract art is related to an activity of visualizing inner reality and emotion. The internal state of mind is represented through strength or direction of brush strokes, and harmony or contrast of colors. The internal state of mind is summed up by emotion and feelings. Rhythm and colors are carriers of emotions and feelings to the visualization. Of course, other figurative arts are the same in that point, but in the case of abstraction art, a real image does not exist. That’s why abstract art is so much dependent on rhythm and colors. Such rhythm and colors are the central elements to Hyeja Moon’s work of art.
*Before long, her paintings were like outbursts of passion. Brilliant colors were wavering upon the canvas that was filled with spirited brush strokes and improvisatory lines. The screen was filled up with traces of high waves and a rainstorm with thunders. Conflicts of complementary colors, gestures of roaring, disturbance and tension settled all over the canvas, etc. Such dynamic composition is originated from jazz. And its pace, improvisation, effect, diverse tones, and suspense remain intact on the canvas. The author is weaving a screen with diverse patterned tones of feelings. We listen to her pictures with the eyes. Musical sentiment brings the author’s brush strokes to lead various emotional colors, free gestures, harmonious composition on the canvas.
*Leaving abstract elements aside, the author began introducing a ‘storytelling’ technique a few years ago. The colors are still bright, but compositional parts such as ornaments and patterns became noticeable. The screen turned a babbling space mingled with lots of images. I suppose that the author might think it is plausible when there are images on the canvas.
* The author often borrows images out of favorite music, cartoons, and fairy tales. The images are independent. For example, a couple riding on a bicycle in the starry night sky, two lovers dancing among falling leaves, a dancer on the rainbow hill, a singing woman, a running man holding a bunch of balloons, or a drop of spooky blood and a grave yard. Such irrelevant images are to be seen on a screen.
*That’s why we are hardly able to read a definite story from her paintings even though they are somewhat related each other. For instance, flowers help in the background when a person floats in the night sky. Then, why does the author put such images on the screen? If there is any hidden agenda among the separate images, it could be a collection of feelings when listening to music, watching animations, and reading cartoons. That is to say, the images are the products of the author’s experiences. The two cases are basically not different: a man paints a landscape on the hill or field; a man writes a note after a concert or a book – reading. The author says, “I borrow the utmost feelings offered by contemporary music and portray them”. Her saying shows such a way of working.
*Musical variation Above all, melody is frequently seen on her paintings. In order to pick up the melody the author utilizes many ways and techniques. Especially, she concentrates her brush strokes. Besides description, she put stress on brushstroke itself. In doing so, the screen is constantly agitating and waving. Paint lines unfolds freely on the screen, so it became the stage of waving sea, or an autumn street full of swirling leaves about in the wind.
*While, there is a very interesting part in the working process. She uses a brush (size 0) which is finer than a brush for manicure. Anyone who knew that she painted all her works big sized or small sized with the 0 size paint brush must be amazed. Although she needs dozens of brushes to complete a work, she clings to the 0 size brush for the quality of lines. Besides the textures of each brushstroke, she takes advantage of free rhythm and nimble velocity, which are derived from a flow of a fine line at a single motion. Her work requires a considerable time and energy with her own techniques.
*It is much easier to portray a body movement when using a finest brush. The author chose the tool with its own property: it can carry her own breath and pulse to the canvas. The lines with the author’s breath and pulse would make a delicate rhythm and come close to the author. So, the screen and the author became one.
*Musical feelings are also found in various images besides the effect of lines such as a display of dancers, a falling person, a dashing bicycle, moving patterns, swirling leaves, drifting musical notes and flower petals. Basically dynamic images, which give an impression of the heave in accordance with the music she listens to compose her painting.
*As a music lover, the author is still ‘shaping music’. To her, colors are the same streamline. That is, the colors sometimes conflict bringing viewers to passion and turn harmonious as if nothing happened. For her, colors are carriers of feelings, and the full screen is a concert stage.
*”I believe music offers energy to life. At a concert the tension, composure, happiness and grief of passion of musical players captivate an audience. In order to visualize the energy given by such music, I try to make an effort to transfer the tension, passion, velocity and hesitation through a display of a dancer”.
*Music influences the whole process of her work. For instance, once she draws, she keeps it without correction. The author never abandons the rule. If the correction of the drawing changes the traces of the first brushstrokes, the first tension and velocity becomes loose, and it is not suitable to express the music lacking energy.
*It can be understood in the same context with performance art, especially musical performance. At the musical performance, a tiny mistake can be corrected or adjusted. Even a mistake is included in a part of the work, and an unexpected moment should be decided on impulse. Hyeja Moon makes an emphasis on the first drawing lines and leaves the background color along the lines, which is called Gap Opening Technique because she considers painting as a performance like a musical concert. Her every process of working is put on the canvass without correction including even her mistakes and clumsiness. As if music offers vitality and energy to our lives, paintings are also a way of energizing our lives for her.
*Hyeja Moon continues her ‘pictorial variation of music’ today. She deepens her conviction that pictorial formation is apt to express the feelings of music. As Mondrian, Kandinsky, Klee, and Delaunay proved, painting is equipped with conditions to figurate music. In that, it is no doubt by the author lines, colors, composition replace rhythm, musical notes, and musical composition. Through fusing with an adjacent genre, she widens and deepens the area of visual art. In her paintings, life encompasses happiness and sorrow. No matter how she expresses sorrow and joy, she let us know they are our precious feelings and true emotions. The fragile moments of the past seem to remain as precious memories. Perhaps, painting is an inverter that changes various colors of feelings into a sublime.
*Rising feelings The author weaves her inspirations with bright colors and rhythmic lines and widens her representational world. By doing so, she gets by-products like amplifying purity of life through a formative language equipped by new life. Her painting is basically bright and pure. Although there are some dark parts, positive parts of life take more. We feel her paintings ‘bread’ in every way that we see: images, colors, composition. Nothing is stationary. She sees all the objects moving somewhere with vitality. That means the power of driving her art is originated from constant will for life. In the flame of life, we thrill with joy of life and sometimes are indulged with a beautiful romance. Like this, the author portrays a large group of people with various feelings like busy musical notes on the blank music paper as if she hopes to remind us that our existence is composed with familiar feelings and a healthy feeling is essential for a happy life. We feel that we are alive. If there are no feelings, we have no interest, or get attracted by any object and action. In spring, the fragrances of flowers captivate us. Then, we should be happy to be intoxicated by the fragrance of spirit through her paintings.
Seo Seong Rok (Professor of Fine Art Department, Andong National University)