Sea of My Mind
Artist | Oh Byoung-wook
Media | Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Location | LOTTE HOTEL JEJU Lobby
Standing in front of the work of Oh Byoungwook while passing through the lobby, gazing out at the open sea, you will be reminded once again that you are in Jeju. The artist depicts the many faces of the sea, calm, before sunrise, or windy, with delicate and repetitive brushstrokes. However, this sea does not exist in real life; they are depictions of “the sea that exists in one’s mind.” Viewed up close, the ocean, expressed through pointillistic strokes, feels like a universe unto itself. Oh’s work symbolizes purity, and we find ourselves lingering in front of the work for long periods of time, admiring the undulating waves in a calm sea. The ocean, not actually observed or seen as a photographic image but reborn only through the imagination of the artist, seems to envelop the viewer like warm amniotic fluid in the maternal womb. Though an ocean imagined by the artist, the sea in the painting bears a close resemblance to the real one. In particular, the waves are rendered in realistic three-dimensional fashion, and looking at the work from a distance, it pulls the viewer into its great depths.
After graduating from the fine arts department of his university, Oh Byoungwook was active as a curator in Seoul. He then moved with his family to his hometown of Sangju in 1990, at the age of 31, and now paints amid nature at a closed-down school. Even though he has chosen the life of a full-time artist and paints to his heart’s content, he continues his artistic endeavors with the hope of communicating with others based on a sympathetic approach to community and society, with the idea that “paintings are produced solitarily, but viewed collectively.” The artist depicts the ocean by applying a thick layer of texture to the canvas, then dipping his brush into paint and splattering it on the surface. In 2005, he published a collection of essays, <빨간 양철지붕 아래서>and in 2017, he became famous when the U.S. President, Donald Trump, and his wife, who was visiting the Blue House as guests of honor, arrived at the main building and signed the visitors’ book with Oh’s work visible behind the desk.
Oh Byoungwook (b. 1959, Republic of Korea)
Graduated from the Department of Painting, Seoul National University Graduate School (majored in art theory)
Graduated from the Department of Painting, Seoul National University College of Fine Arts