Sublime Exhibit at LACMA


If you only have one art excursion in you this month, head to LACMA for Park Dae Sun: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush, located on the first floor of BCAM. In a room with sumptuously dark blue walls, several monumental and luminous canvases by Korea’s most “versatile and beloved” artists. The work by a self-taught master lights the space with sublime energy.

Great news – the show has been extended through February 5, 2023. The ink painting “Snow at Bulgur Temple” will cast a spell on you. The story of the artist’s life is just as otherworldly – after being traumatized in the Korean War, he devoted his life to art, studying the past traditions of calligraphy and ink painting and forging a new style of his own. The slim exhibition catalogue is a worthy purchase if you want to learn more about this work, or this period in history.

Park Day Sun's "Snow at Bulgur Temple". Image by Sarah Bowman
Visitor Contemplating Snow at Bulgur Temple, 1996

Park Dae Sung was born in 1945, the official end of both the Japanese colonization of Korea and WWII. In 1950, during the Korean War, his parents were killed by Communist soldiers, and he found solace in painting. Self-taught, Park has spent time in China, walked the Silk Road, and searched for the meaning of hanja (Chinese characters), the aesthetic foundation of his calligraphy and paintings.

Park Dae Sung: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush spotlights paintings in Park’s signature style that catapulted the respected artist to the next level. With a single brush, he portrays his subjects by effortlessly fusing the aesthetics of East and West. This intimate exhibition invites the viewer to really see the brushstrokes and compositions up close. The two smaller paintings give us a sense of Park’s wide range of skills, from the hyperrealism of a Joseon bowl to the bird that emerges from one stroke. (From the LACMA catalogue).

Save time for this 30 minute video to meet the artist and see him at work, as well as to learn more about his remarkable life and practice. A recent article from Forbes also provides context.

The artist has a solo show on view in New Hampshire at Dartmouth College’s Hood Gallery, on view through March 2023 and this link to the gallery includes a virtual tour.