Love Under the Blue Moon

The Mews Gallery

28 July - 14 August 2022

The J/M Gallery is proud to present a joint exhibition titled ‘Love Under the Blue Moon’. Running from the 28th July – 14th August, originating from South Korea, the show will be delivered by curators Rokhee Hwang and Vittoria Beltrame. Two artists – Sang Woon Nam and Ji-Young Hong will be showcasing their latest work which has been famously exhibited across South Korea. Sang Woon Nam provides an overarching landscape reminiscent of a blue moon, filled with depth, mystique, and photorealism – with Ji Young-Hong bringing layers of colour, abstraction and a vibrance of Seoul to the J/M Gallery space.

The title ‘Love Under the Blue Moon’ speaks to Sang Woon Nam’s use of blue moon symbolism, complemented by Young-Hongs eclectic display of abstract portraits. As the two are exhibiting for the first time in London – the title speaks to the rare nature in which this experience has happened for them. Although reaching high levels of prominence and recognition in South Korea, their artworks are yet to be viewed on a larger international basis – describing the rare moment which is felt by the two. And whilst collectors in South Korea proudly boast about a piece from artist Ji Young-Hoon, the luck of a blue moon in the United Kingdom is yet to be tested.

Artist Ji-Young Hong is a well-known artist, academic and writer in South Korea. Ji-Young Hong has toured multiple exhibitions nationally, contributing significantly to infrared technologies within the arts. She is well-known for her abstract, figurative paintings, adopting striking palettes that in theory, shouldn’t work together - yet do. Ji-Young Hong has a highly expansive CV and bibliography – including residencies within national museums, awards from leading South Korean art centres, and education from the Sung-Shin Women’s University, and Chung-Ang University, Seoul.

Ji-Young Hong uses the idea of the epidermis as a way to explore different depths of colour. As someone who previously suffered with extreme anxieties, Ji-Young often saw numerous marks and self-inflicted scars on her body as a result of anxious habits. Fascinated with the idea of multiple layers correlating with the epidermis skin layers, Ji-Young aims to provide an ‘epidermical’ x-ray in to what is usually a singular layer of skin colour or complexion. She states that: “I have been seeking to unveil a new perspective on anxiety – my anxious habits actually fed their way in to my expression and artistic voice, and have given me a foundation to build new ideas from. We shouldn’t seek to hide or shy away from what is going on mentally, but embrace it as a part of us, good or ugly. We are so concentrated on presenting an idea of perfection, that we lose sight of what our individual experiences can bring to challenge defined perfections. I hope to realise this through my art.”

For artist Sang Woon Nam, his obsession with finding the ‘perfect blue’ has gone on longer than twenty years. Sang Woon Nam's highly photorealistic and intricate paintings are inundated with the hue of blue which the artist has found solace in. He believes that the wording of ‘blue’ restricts the exploration of the colour, as there are so many vast differences in emotions that slight hues of blue incite. For Sang-Woon, his ‘blue moon’ colour represents the rarity of finding such a discovery, one which is accompanied by symbolic uses of lotus leaves. This shade which he has come to know as ‘Blue Moon’ is used across the majority of his work.

Lotus Leaves are a highly important symbol in South Korean culture, as they are in Sang Woon Nam’s paintings. Known to symbolize creation, rebirth and reproduction – Sang Woon focuses on the lotus leaf as his own signifier of rebirth, experimentation and new beginnings within his practice. Breathing his own version of blue onto the lotus leaves creates a highly realistic, yet abstract feeling, evoking a sense of familiarity. His large-scale paintings seek to absorb the repetitive pittances of regular routine and stresses, and unleash them within a constant reproductive process felt in his practice. As with the symbol of the lotus, each painting is rebirthed and reproduced upon each viewing, and the rarity of Sang Woon Nam’s shade of ‘blue moon’ provides the familiar yet abstract qualities as mentioned. What may seem like a high-quality photograph, soon unravels years of expertise and meticulous technique. Nam Sang-Woon’s paintings can take from 3 – 36 months to complete. His hand aims to reproduce what the finest macro lens cannot – a world of detail and intricacy through a blue-mooned lens.

Sang Woon Nam has exhibited in nearly 200 exhibitions in South Korea, with over a quarter of those being solo exhibitions. The artist received a doctorate in fine art from Hongik University in the 1990’s, and has been exhibiting across South Korea and wider Asia as a prolific artist. They currently reside in Seoul, South Korea.

The show will also be assisted in curation by leading curator Vittoria Beltrame, who recently hosted EU Diplomat Beatrice Covassi’s ‘A European Show’ at the J/M Gallery in July.