Spreading the beauty of Korean folk painting to the world

홍기인 기자l승인2019.07.22l수정2019.07.22 10:03






▲ Artist Jeongsook Woo

Korean folk painting was spread fast among folks from late Joseon dynasty and nestled nicely as a genre for ordinary people with talent in drawing. Despite its characteristics of expressing emotions of folks of the era, the authority looked it down for crudeness and lack of sophistication. Today, things have become better and more and more people are enjoying the fun of drawing folk paintings. 

Jeongsook Woo is a folk painting artist. Entering her house in Chuncheon City, I could not help with “wow” for sheer number of works hanging there. The 10 folding screen <Mount Kumgang>, for example, wowed me as a flock of cranes flying towards a point over the grand scenery of the mountain. <Hojakdo>, for another example, drew me into the world of a burning sun set in which an elixir plant and a hen hang around. 

May this year, Woo held her first solo exhibition <May and Sumptuous Day Out with Peony> at the Kyungin Museum of Fine Art. Viewers of the exhibition enjoyed full of tradition and modern application, unique color mix and a high degree of finish. 20 of her larges works were displayed in orderly manner with just appropriate blank space arrangement between the works. Among the displays, <Mount Kumgang> and <Haegeumgang> captivated hearts of the viewers the most. 

A viewer said “I felt like I couldn’t breathe for the precision of her works.” Art professors in their 50s and 60s also could not hide their surprises for the sheer size of her works. The success of her solo exhibition was led to an invitational exhibition at the Chuncheon Cultural Center. 

“I just felt like overwhelming at the praise the viewer had given to me at these two exhibitions in a row” looked back Woo.

Woo is a hard worker. She works 13 hours a day and it takes 6 months to 1 year to finish a 10 folding screen. It might sounds easy in word but to finish a 10 folding screen requires a concentration and patience. One can compare it with ‘a fight with oneself’. And this might be the reason that her work <Peaceful Mount Kumgang> won the special prize at the Grand Exhibition of Traditional Korean Art. 

Woo learned folk painting under the instruction of a folk painting master Insoo Yoon aka Yachon, for 1 year. Despite her late debut as a folk painting artist, Woo showed her talent in many genres from watercolor to porcelain. 

“I was invited to an invitational exhibition organized to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Korean immigration in the US several years ago. I was surprised that Americans showed more interest in Korean folk painting than Koreans in homeland. This aroused a sense of duty in me spreading the beauty of Korean folk painting to the world.”

▲ 일월오봉도 45X175cmX8

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