Visual Artist

Is She Western or Eastern?

Korean-raised artist Kyoung Ae Cho draws on nature to create quietly elegant work, now at Lynden Sculpture Garden.

By - Jun 13th, 2014 02:13 pm
052010-032011, 2014 (detail). Photo by Kyoung Ae Cho.

052010-032011, 2014 (detail). Photo by Kyoung Ae Cho.

Kyoung Ae Cho, whose work is now on exhibit at the adventurous Lynden Sculpture Garden, is one very patient artist. She collected her own hair shed over a two-year period of time to create the materials for one work of art. She has collected fallen leaves and twigs for her hangings. She is very attuned to nature and concerned about the environment and how things of value are wasted in a consumer-oriented society like America’s.

“Kyoung Ae’s work is somewhat of a paradox in the way it is simple yet complex,” writes curator and blogger Sarah Hemm. “An apt description might be minimalist with meaning. A leaf, half eaten by snails, is transformed into fine art that is interesting, makes sense, and has a commanding presence… I was amazed at her attention to detail and the overall coherence and elegance of her work”

As Robert Raczka, Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Allegheny College, has put it, “The beauty that Kyoung Ae Cho’s work attains is a source of considerable pleasure as well as a locus of attention promoting a feeling of centeredness in the viewer – an experience that continues to be desired by many though it is increasingly rare in a culture spinning with information and spectacle.”

Kyoung Ae went to school first in Korea, where she grew up, and later moved to the United States to finish her education. In her lectures she has noted that everybody in Korea thought her work was very “Western”. But when she got to the States everybody thought her work was very “Eastern.”

She has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute, Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Craft, and is currently a professor in the Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee.

Her work has been exhibited at a long list of museums and galleries nationally and internationally. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Lillian Elliott Award, the Quilt National Award of Excellence and the Pollock-Krasner Grant, the UWM Foundation and Graduate School Research Award, and Wisconsin Arts Board Award Fellowship.

This exhibit is the third in a series of Lynden exhibitions that examine, in various combinations, women, nature and science. The show runs through July 13.

“Women, Nature, Science – Kyoung Ae Cho: One at a Time”

Lynden Sculpture Garden
2145 W. Brown Deer Rd.
(414) 446-8794


0 thoughts on “Visual Artist: Is She Western or Eastern?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Your review has made me want to see this show! Collecting one’s hair for two years to create an artwork – very personal, no one else would have anything like it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of art, hair, and ethnicity — an fascinating person to check out is Wenda Gu, a contemporary Chinese artist who also uses human hair in amazingly elaborate, monumental works.

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