The two artists in the new “Fall Solo Exhibition” at the Greater Reston Arts Center both inventively probe in their works the residuum of memory and imagination. Their final artistic products, however, and the paths that they travel to get there are vastly different.
Describing these abstract works as “reimagined landscapes from different perspectives,” Holly Koons McCullough, GRACE’s curator of exhibitions and its new executive director, suggested they “reflect the nature of memory — nonlinear and circular.” The mixed-media works of Jungmin Park, 37, a resident of Washington, D.C., are the visual expressions of what she absorbs as she makes her way around her world as well as the emotions these sensory experiences engender.
Park — who has bachelor’s degrees in fine art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul and a masters of fine art in painting and drawing from the Pratt Institute in New York — allows these impressions to simmer until they emerge in her art.
Her carefully balanced art works are “journeys” that “grow from memory, from what I’ve seen,” she explained at the exhibition’s Nov. 21 opening reception at the GRACE Gallery in Reston Town Center.
Merging painting, needlework, textiles and collage, Park’s often sculpture-like pieces are colorful, fluid and expressive.
The negative space that she purposely incorporates into her compositions serve as “shadows” of herself, she said, explaining “they are my story … are symbolic of my imagination.”
Ajay Leister, 25, creates large, bold three-dimensional mixed-media installations, assembled from some unexpected materials, like crochet, yarn, wood and other fibers pumped up with spray foam.
Like the forms in his installations, Leister’s mental process is more freewheeling and experimental. He describes his approach as “trial and error,” with some of his ideas growing out of doodles done in class when he was “bored.”
An emerging artist, Leister, who now lives in Philadelphia, has bachelor and master degrees from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Defying easy categorization, Leister’s organic, biological forms run the imagination’s gamut and depending on the viewer’s own predilections, might ricochet from coral reefs or other fantastical marine creatures to globules of fat from some massive liposuction surgery.
It is not a pejorative to say that Leister, who is underpinning his art with an independent study of cellular biology, likes to play.
“It is that aspect of chance that makes it exciting,” said Leister.
Taught to crochet by two male elementary school friends, he explained, while he has “total control” over the very traditional handicraft of crocheting, he totally and gladly relinquishes that control when he adds the spray foam and let’s chance take over the creative process.
GRACE’s “Fall Solo” exhibition continues through Jan. 4.