Picea Pungens Engelm, Watercolor Pencil on Paper, 51.5 X 36.4 cm
Jung Ai, Han
Northern Sydney College Visual Arts Degree
Selected Invitational Solo Exhibitions
Invitational Solo Exhibition, Bucheon Cultural Center Art Museum. Korea
Invitational Solo Exhibition, See Street Gallery, Australia
Korea-German International Contemporary Art Exhibition Solo Exhibition, Germany
Korea-Japan Contemporary Art Exhibition Solo Exhibition, Japan
Invitational Solo Exhibition, Naeseorak Artist’ Colony Public Art Museum, Korea
SMAF Art Fair Solo Exhibition, Seoul Arts Center, Korea
Invitational Solo Exhibition, Korea Art Gallery
2009-2018 Botanical Art Association Exhibition (Kyungin Museum of Fine Art, Insa Art Center, Ilwoo Space, etc. Seoul, Korea)
Invitational Remarkable International Artists of Botanical Art Exhibition at the 19th International Botanical Congress (Shenzhen, China)
SIAE Seoul International Art Fair (Coex Hall, Seoul)
Sapporo Art Fair (Cross hotel Sapporo, Japan)
Deajon Internaional Art Fair (Daejon Trade Exhibition Center, Korea)
Korea-China-Japan International Art Fair (Busan Culture Center, Korea)
31st Packsaddle Invitational Exhibition (New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, Australia)
Australia SWAP Art Exhibition (See Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia)
Australia Photocomp Exhibition (See Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia_
International Day Exhibition (Sydney University, Sydney, Australia)
Pink Art Fair (Intercontinental Coex Hotel, Seoul)
Uijeongbu Arts Center Festival (Uijeongbu Arts Center, Korea)
ASIANWAY Korean & Chinese Exhibition (H.A Gallery, Korea)
Korean Art Fair (House of Parliament, Seoul)
International Women’s Day Festival (Lee Hyung Art Gallery,Seoul)
2013,2015,2016 Korea-China-Japan Sin Art Association Exhibition (Tokyo Art Museum, Nagoya Gang-gi City Museum, Japan)
Asia Hotel Art Fair (Lotte Hotel, Seoul)
Singapore Affordable Art Fair (Pit Building, Singapore)
Busan Art Show (BEXCO, Korea)
Hong Kong AHAF Art Fair (Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, Hong Kong)
New York fountain art Fair (New York, USA)
Köln Art Fair (Köln, Germany)
World Art Games, Croatia (Vukovar City Museum, Croatia)
International Botanical Congress Botanical Art Prize, Gold Award
Australia-Waste to Art Prize Winner
Australia-Photocomp, Highly Commended Award
Contemporary Art Paintings Prize, Mird Award
International Women’s Day Prize, Korea Woman Art Award
2013, 2015, 2016 Japan Sin Art Contest winner, Japan-Korea Award etc.
21st, 23 rd Mokwoo Prize Winner
Korea Art Grand Prize Winner
Member of Botanical Art Society of Australia (BASA)
Member of Korea Botanical Art Association
Argentine Art Yearbook with International Artists
Pakistan Embassy, Soonchunhyang Hospital, Cross Hospital,
Hyundai Filter, HSNK Architecture Corp, Samsung Electronics
Co. etc.& Private Collections: Germany, Korea Singapore,
Han Jung Ai : A Walk for Eyes
From Seo Seongrok (Art Critic & professor of the Department of Fine Art, Andong National University)
“... the shy buds, the freshly bloomed picturesque petals, the glamour of the full-blown flowers, and their pitiable wilting. I find them all so endearing. While I nervously wonder if I can achieve correct expression of all the vitality and beauty, I nonetheless strive to capture every detail to a wink or a soundless word from a petal.” from Artist’s Notes.
Perhaps out of their wish to keep forever the beauty of flowers, a number of artists put the beauty on their canvas. Artist Han Jung Ai too seems to be unable to escape the floral temptation.
Han Jung Ai is attracted to flowers, because she regards them as beautiful and wondrous objects. As if attracted to the power of love, she picks up her paint brush when she sees flowers. Maybe that’s why the artist captures all the details of a flower’s bearing without missing any. Right there, the human soul is nourished and grows. Cactus and Rose, which excellently demonstrate the artist’s potential, fairly surprised me with their delicacy and precision. One feels like one is watching them on HD TV screen. That’s not all. What a number of petals a flower has! A viewer would simply marvel at how the petals are all differently colored and differently shaped. Remembering that such bountiful harvests flower on the earth every year, one can guess that nature has great generosity in store.
Her paintings virtually resemble a botanical garden. The screen is filled with cactus, persimmon, magnolia, lotus flower, Japanese apricot flower, gloxinia, red lily, canna, nandina, rose, amaryllis, iris, peony, and foxglove. It represents such great variety from those indigenous species that are found across the country to rare ones. To get her motive, the artist visited such wide-ranging destinations as Anmyeondo Arboretum and Recreational Forest, Tsukuba Garden of Japan, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Jade Garden, Herb Island in Pocheon, Yeomiji Botanical Garden on Jejudo, Ansung Herb Village, Chollipo Arboretum, Mulhyanggi Arboretum in Osan, Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, and Hantaek Botanical Garden in Yongin. There, she observed various flowers and grasped their characteristics before she expressed them on her screen.
Her paintings at once respect the uniqueness of the objects and sublimate them into art. Instead of delivering and recording facts as any illustrated
plant book would do, they make flowers larger than their actual size or emphasize their specific parts. It must be designed to remove the background and thereby promote the beauty of margins, but in my view, it seems to enhance concentration on a theme by highlighting an image.
Her paintings keep transparency like water color. Again, this reflects her intention to register clarity and brightness more than murkiness and gloom. Surprisingly, the medium that she has adopted to deliver this sense of transparency is water-soluble colored pencil. In fact, it is extremely hard to create such an effect with colored pencils. While colored pencils have the advantage of precision with their sharp tips, they also require some additional cautions. Because they tend to crush as you paint it over, you need considerable mastery of your materials. Usually, overlapped colors would bring reduced chroma as well as gloom and murkiness, Ms. Han Jung Ai retains the clear transparency even if colors are applied in several layers. This is how the purity and cleanness of the flowers are further stressed.
People who look at flower pictures commonly comment that they are graceful or they are splendid, but this is not quite what motivated Ms. Han to do flower painting. Looking at flowers and vegetation, the artist wonders what scientist on earth can create the abstruse world of such various colors and shapes. That is perhaps why Henry David Thoreau said that all natural phenomena should be viewed in surprise and fear. When he concentrated his vision at flowers, he came to wonder in enlightenment, how these flowers came to be, and how this world was possible in the first place.
Christianity has long kept a perspective on nature as revelation. St. Ephrem sang, “The Lord of all / is the treasure store of all things: / upon each according to his capacity / He bestows a glimpse / of the beauty of His hiddenness, / of the splendor of His majesty.” (from Hymns on Paradise). What is visible is not seen, but its true meaning can be realized through eyes of faith. The flowers that Han Jung Ai represents could be explained in the same manner. Plants, as imitation of God, make us realize the beauty of the Creator. This is the gist of her works.
Fascinated at Ferdinand Lucas Bauer, a botanical artist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “When we look at the leaves, we are bewitched. Through its excellent accuracy, calm progression, and clear and satisfactory appearance, nature is revealed while art is hidden.” Goethe’s observation constitutes praise on the modesty of the artist, who didn’t vaunt his identity as an artist but instead chose to draw the presence of the object in spotlight.
When we look at Han Jung Ai’s paintings, we unconsciously move close to them. As with the paintings by Bauer, we see nature revealed and the artist hidden. If one feels in her paintings that one can smell fresh flagrance of flowers, it proves their addictiveness. Yet, this doesn’t satisfy her. When we get out of the slime of our habitual life, then we will see what lies underneath. The artist goes beyond what catches our eyes to let us know why ‘a truthful walk for eyes’ is needed.
Since much of the passage to approach the world has been lost with the loss of symbol and metaphor that used to serve as pillars of the art of painting, it is truly uplifting to look at the world beyond eyes through Han Jung Ai. The painter doesn’t dwell on what is visible. With her insight, she inquiries into and presents what we don’t see. Thus, we can look at nature more carefully and appreciate her. And we thereby befriend profounder life and beauty. In the process, we get to see how much this world glitters with mysterious things. Is Han Jung Ai perhaps telling us to become not so much a level-headed scientist as a clairvoyant poet? Painting should be more truthful than science.
Han Jung Ai of Botanical Art
To the Supreme Being in a Heartfelt Letter of Appreciation
Shin Hang Seop ( An art critic)
The flower itself, needless to further add or subtract, could be stated as a formative perfection. Out of numerous kinds of flowers, none of which should be blamed, for themselves are in the perfect aesthetic form. Colors that are appropriate for each form and flowers, which are constituted with matching colors, are theepitome of beauty as well as the symbol of natural beauty. It is natural for the representational art oriented artists to crave flowers. That is why when discussing the beauty of a flower; it cannot be a subject of right or wrong. To restate, using such form of a flower as it is already reaches the model of formative beauty.
Han Jung Ai abandoned an oil painting brush she had been using for decades and grabbed on colored pencils about 10 years ago. She started her work with colored pencils due to her desire to express flower’s pure beauty more realistically. Even though the past oil painting works are sufficient enough to carry out extremely realistic depiction, she changed toward a colored pencil, because she believed it is a best tool to reach the zenith of natural beauty. Oil painting requires a brush, and an oily characteristic of viscosity hinders miniscule expression. A colored pencil, on the other hand, can overcome such problem and conduct infinitesimal expressions that are close to reality.
In fact, her detailed paintings of a flower surprisingly display great accuracy and amazing technical degree of completion. It is not possible to not applaud the small details, which only can be done with a colored pencil’s thin lead. It is so realistic and vivid as if a flower in a picture is alive. It is difficult not to become solemn about the technical perfection and her attitude toward work. It’s quite clear as daylight that such process of creating this kind of work requires not only solemn and reverent mindset but also self-discipline, patience and fierce mentality of a painter.
What else could have caused her, who has used oil paintings for realistic work, to determine to draw pictures of flowers with colored pencils? Maybe it has close relationship with private religious life. In a process of deeply observing and understanding flower which is a symbol of natural beauty, the awe toward life’s mystery that cannot be explained through knowledge eventually leads to confirmation and confidence of the existence of god. In other words, it has been confirmed that there’s no being or theory that can substitute god in any cases. The absolute belief, which god must be the only one who can assign such profound and mysterious color to a flower, should be the motive.
Therefore, she does her best to thank and praise god by better expressing the beauty of a flower that god gave. That is also why she selected botanical art that uses plants for extreme-realistic depiction. Originally started as drawings of an illustrated plant book, botanical art now holds a position as an independent visual form. Not only stops at keen realistic descriptions, it also highlights aesthetic factors to endow artistic value.
Her work as botanical art not only follows formal orders but also focuses on retaining a subjective and independent formative space. In order to do that, she understands that one should not obsess on technical perfection. Of course she has achieved the extremity of technical perfection. Her understanding and sense regarding forms of flowers and leaves not leaving behind dewdrops, moisture and texture of a powder, support this claim. She’s also sensitive about small changes of color due to fluctuation of amount of light. This would probably have easily exceeded an illustrated plant book’s depiction.
Such depiction and sense of modeling brings in refinement and the refinement accompanies artistic value. It is not so easy to obtain artistic value from a keen and representational art. It is because one accepts technical perfection as the highest value and settles at where one is.
However, a true artistic value comes after technical perfection. She surpassed technical perfection and met refinement and other artistic values because of her artistic discernment.
Artistic discernment could be from inborn or an effect of education. Whether or not, sense of beauty can be a criterion or standard of technique and aesthetic. In that sense, she is aware of artistic world created by his aesthetic sense. Showing steady differences between her recent works and early works is also quite related. Especially, her understanding and sense about color have become deeper and her modeling sense that searches pictorial beauty is both delicate and sharp.
She exceeds forms and liveliness, and shows her keen awareness and goal for creating artistic values. The thickness of colors and seriousness in her recent works might have been results of aesthetic approaches. In other words, she surpasses the reality that can be seen through eyes and embodies pictorial beauty searched by unique artistic sensitivity. This demands plentiful amount of artistic sense. To do so, one must seriously investigate the nature, meditate, and mindset created through positivity toward life.
Possibly, she reflects joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure that are related to woman’s life into the world of diverse emotions. She dissolves various emotions such as dream and love, happiness and misfortune, joy and sadness, thankfulness and delight, hope and despair into her works. When avoiding this kind of changes in emotions, a picture would be governed only by lifeless coldness. She understands that uplift of mind and emotions are done through combing emotions to refine and purify them.
Pictorial beauty or ideal originate from elegant mind and emotions. To be elegant is same as purity of mind or odor that it is necessary to exalt emotions to a beautiful stage. Pictorial beauty and aesthetic values are created once this kind of odor of mind is inserted into one’s works. Realistic depictions alone cannot educe aesthetic values due to having almost no subjective emotions or enough room for interpretation.
Therefore, to solve this problem, there must be aesthetic understanding or approaches. The pictorial beauty that her works have achieved is consisted of this kind of uplifts of mind or emotions.
Her recent works have about two characteristics. One is she chose mostly red flowers as her subjects, and the other is a lot of the subjects have big florets and bloom. Including a rose, a peony, lilies, amaryllis, and cactus flowers have these similarities in common. These big and flamboyant red flowers are fit to depict pictorial images. The works of these flowers bring power in forms and structures in reality.
Especially in a case of a work with only one flower, the composition of a picture is simple that the aura generated by a flower is intense. Moreover, because of its red color, its presence is much more intense. Therefore, one can feel the display of power that can overwhelm the blank space. In works of such compositions, it is not difficult to detect vitality and beauty which are much stronger and clearer than real flowers. It is natural to stimulate hope and greed toward life.
Her works are filled with artistic odors that surpass common understandings of botanical arts. Such compositional outcomes might be results of elegant artistic sense and uplifted beauty she obtained through her past oil painting works. Her works at first glance radiate rational and intellectual images. At the same time, they also do not miss plentiful aesthetic senses that provoke emotions. In one sentence, her works could be stated as a heartfelt letter of appreciation to the Supreme Being who gave flowers that acted as a crucial factor to harmoniously raise the nature, god’s garden.