InJung Oh, MFA
Korean American, InJung Oh is a female artist, resident at Zhou B Art Center, and creator of contemporary art space “Volossom.” She was born in South Korean in 1982, and moved to the US at the age of 13. She earned both a MFA (2009) and a BFA (2005) with a Full scholarship (2001-2005) and Fellowship in Honor (2005) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing. After graduation, Oh continues to exhibit widely in Chicago and abroad. She has had solo exhibitions at Union League Chicago, Zhou B Art Center (Chicago), Ed Pachke Art Center (Chicago), MIIT Museum (Turin), and Bluerider Art Gallery (Taipei). Her most recent project focus is to develop Volossom, a multifaceted art space in Bridgeport, Chicago. This is the place where Oh can present and collaborate on visual art projects creating both a psychological and spiritual space where the viewer can experience to find balance in life through arts. She is also a wife and mother of 2 children.
Using various symbolisms and abstractions, Oh creates a psychological and spiritual space through art to pause and release a sense of balance in the face of a world filled with gender and cultural tensions. In her works, Oh searches to find answers to the contradiction of her multiple cultural identities. These include being a woman who grew up in a traditional Korean family and living with a Chinese family in a Western society.
One of the symbolism Oh has created is a visual representation of an ideal female figure as a beacon for herself. With the vision of the female figure, seen by the artist herself, floating in the sky as a giant flower, Oh started the world of “Volossom.” In prefix English, “Vol” which means wish/will. By combining “blossom” and “Vol,” the artist has given the word the meaning of “blossom as a manifestation of wish or will.”
The sense of balance she seeks also lies within the physical work process. In the Sculptural Painting series, Oh cuts incisions into the canvas and dips it in multiple layers of media such as resin, liquid plastic, acrylic, oils, and others to harden it. Then she lets gravity transform its flat shape into a structure. As a result, the canvas is released from its original flat state.
Another series such as “Leaves of Life,” is created by blowing oils on canvas. For Oh, the concentration it takes to control the breath guiding the oil marks occupies the moment, and fulfills it with peace. The concept of “release” is consistent through out all these works, allowing the artist to relieve herself from the inside out.
“Art is one of the most precious objects that feeds our lives and we need to feed off of art to balance life.” – InJung Oh.
Oh has recently found a multifaceted art space named Volossom. She envisions incorporating painting design, video, music, sculpture, performance, work shops, nature elements and more. Oh wishes the viewer can connect, experience, and find their own balance in life through art.
InJung Oh is Korean American visual artist and received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 has exhibited widely in Chicago and abroad. Oh explores the power of relationships between the gender and cultural challenge by using dynamic symbolism. Her work searches to find answers to the contradiction of her “multiple” cultural condition as a Korean-American woman who deals with traditional Korean upbringing with Chinese family with life journey in the western society. While embracing inspiration from the tensions between opposing energies with in society, culture, and gender. Oh’s work represents a constant changing self-discovery.
Volossom originated from artist, InJung Oh. Oh received her MFA in 2009 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has exhibited widely in Chicago and abroad. Working primarily as a painter, Oh has developed the concept Volossom, at once motif, philosophy, and generative process for her work. Volossom embodies the tension between chance and control in art: the prefix “vol,” rooted in the Latin word voluntas (to will), anchors the term to intentionality and aspiration, while “blossom” is a kind of energetic automatism, bringing to mind self-precipitating forms found in nature. Oh’s work incorporates antlers, erupting volcanoes, and blooming flowers – visually captivating forms that grow and develop as part of natural, unconscious processes. The unpredictable growth inherent in these forms reflects her attitude towards painting as a way of opening up towards others, the expression of an inner state made intelligible via oil on canvas. As a visual motif, the Volossom resembles both a flower in bloom and a slender leg extending from a dress, an uplifting symbol of future promise (voluntas is derived from velle, “to wish”) that reflects Oh’s characterization of the form as the manifestation of one’s will or desire.
Since introducing Volossom ten years ago with her painting King and I (2005), Oh has grown the concept into a platform www.Volossom.com for visual art, design, and social practice, separating Volossom from her studio work. She is focused now on experimenting with new materials and means of display, using a series of new canvas studies to investigate and taking chances of the possibility of freezing transitory moments between stillness and the movement, as well as painting and sculpture www.injungoh.com
Yechen Zhao, 2016
The Arts Club of Chicago
We saw works that felt like the soul leaving the body, that promoted progression, that presented a galaxy of possibility—and that illuminated paths to precipitating that possibility into reality. Skillfully, she explained it: a cosmology compressed into a new fundamental force, one filtered into a worldview—an approach to life that becomes both habit of being and medium for expression. What Oh terms Volossom.
Having it taught to you is nice. But it can just as easily be transferred to you through the work—each piece, with magnetic sense of motion, becomes a visual autonym, a representation of meaning and meaning itself. The movement of the pieces is powerful; you feel it even standing still. You are put in tune with the forward rush of time, the dancing of mysterious gravitational currents, the planet forcing you through slow revolutions, your very atoms jittering against the electric fetters holding them together.
We looked, and through her words and what we saw, were placed in liminal space, saw what it feels like to grapple with your spiritual self for that which exists beyond ken. Felt no transcendental knowledge, but saw it sitting smiling in the distance, and knew that it was possible to leap above all base matter below us to get there.
And finally, we were put in touch with a manner by which the present self can inhabit the future it desires, the work seeming a means and method both, providing blueprints for a sort of positive inertia that takes you from where you are to where you need to be.
It became clear to us that sometimes the philosophical can fit neatly into the physical, and the eventual can become the inevitable. New beginnings are always on offer, as the liminal is where we live.
Sean Collins, Founder | 2016,