Between Horizons: Korean Ceramic Artists in America is on view at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia
October 12 – December 31, 2023
The Clay Studio presents Between Horizons: Korean Ceramic Artists in America, a new exhibition featuring ceramic sculptures by 12 Korean artists. The exhibition highlights artists who began their ceramic education in Korea before moving to North America to complete graduate work in ceramic art. In Between Horizons, the artists explore how the geographic change influenced their identities as artists, the impact of experiencing new cultures on their practice, and how they see themselves after living in two distinct societies.
Between Horizons is co-curated by The Clay Studio’s Curator and Director of Artistic Programming Jennifer Zwilling and internationally-renowned Korean artist and Director of the Art Department at James Madison University Mi-Kyoung Lee. The exhibition serves as a case study of artists who left South Korea in pursuit of expanded artistic freedom, and how their practice evolved following their transition to North America. The artists represent a trend that began in 1989 when the South Korean government relaxed travel restrictions, allowing citizens to travel abroad, further their educations, and expand their horizons.
“Between Horizons was first conceived after conversations with multiple Korean ceramic artists living in the U.S. who told a similar story,” said Zwilling. “They were proud of the skills they learned in Korea but desired more creative freedom, and they moved halfway around the world to pursue it. These 12 artists grapple with the position of being from Korea and calling the US home; they are between these two places, both defined by and apart from each.”
The artists featured in Between Horizons have infused narratives into their work that reveal the tensions created by the pull of South Korean and North American cultures. New York-based artist Ahrong Kim recounts her need to recalibrate her artistic practice while studying in the U.S., shifting her focus from physical perfection to conceptual rigor. California-based ceramicist YehRim Lee was inspired to experiment with new materials she found through a partnership with ceramic scientists at Alfred University. Georgia-based ceramic sculptor Sunkoo Yuh creates socio-political critique through monumental sculptures featuring figural groups.
Another reason for The Clay Studio’s interest in focusing on Korean ceramic art is the presence of three Korean artists in the current class of Resident Artists. Current Resident Artist, Soojin Choi is known for transforming objects, figures, and spaces into a visual language by repeatedly layering flat and spatial surfaces. Another Resident Artist, Minah Kim’s ceramic art simultaneously communicates the process of working and thinking about internalized memories. Jinsik Yoo, also a Resident Artist, examines his own sense of transition as a personal and universal experience. Between Horizons also features works by Sukjin Choi, Joon Hee Kim, Yeonsoo Kim, Gunyoung Kim, Jae Won Lee, Kyungmin Park.
The Clay Studio will host a special Between Horizons Symposium on Saturday, December 2, 2024, where guests can hear lectures and panel discussions from the artists and curators.
The Clay Studio is also proud to host Korea-based artist Juree Kim as a Guest Artist from August to November as she completes work that will be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) as part of their major exhibition, The Shape of Time: Korean Art after 1989. The PMA exhibition also includes works by Between Horizons artist Sunkoo Yuh.
The Clay Studio
1425 N American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122