Seong Gil Heo
December 5 - 23, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, December 6th, 6-8 PM
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Heo's ink on Korean paper paintings and mixed media works focus on cities devoid of human presence. Humanity is implied through his use of street signs, traffic lights, telephone booths, and electric wiring. Heo's drawings of buildings appear so perfect leaving us with little evidence of both his hand and society's existence. And yet, Heo's cities are not bereft of feeling as one would expect of sterile environments. Present are electric wires that crisscross at many points that symbolize communication between people. Present are traffic lights that imply cars, post office boxes that allude to older forms of communication and also shop signs, street signs, traffic symbols and directions in the artist's native Korean language. Hyppodamian cities plans based on the mathematical grid characterized by order and regularity are evident in Heo's cities when he's painting New York or other western cities. But, when depicting his native Seoul, he paints it, as is; one building above another, or abutting, as in the beehive style of many middle-eastern cities. This is partly due to the mountainous origin of the Korean topography that also contains lots of steps leading up its steeply built levels. The buildings although not that high, because they are set on mountainous terrain, take on the look of the peaks of the high backgrounds. Perhaps Heo sees New York and Seoul as cities representing a break with the past as did the Futurist architect Sant' Elia in his manifesto for the Citta Nuova project. And like him has anticipated the city's urban expansion with its problems painting urban centers that are industrialized and technological wonders while raising them to the level of signs. Seong Gil Heo was born and raised in Daegu, South Korea and earned his MFA in Asian Painting at this city's Kye-myung University Graduate School. He has exhibited in Istanbul, Hong-Kong, Singapore, China and this will be his second solo show in New York.