InJung Oh is a Chicago-based artist. She received a MFA degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and is a resident artist of the Zhou B Art Center. Her work shows internationally and is included in numerous collections. InJung’s emerging artistic career has flourished in recent years and was the subject of the exhibition titled “King and I” at Chicago’s 33 Contemporary Gallery in Zhou B Art Center.
InJung Oh’s solo exhibition focuses on a body of work that takes as a point of departure the historical Korean tale of King Euy Ja. The story depicts the King’s 3000 wives who jumped off a cliff when he was deposed from power. Oh represents femininity by abstracting the wives’ billowing skirts and body as petals and stamens. Despite the tragedy of these women’s death, the impending birth of the next generation manifests as flowers reaching full bloom, symbolizing the perpetual nature of life.
Although King’s Euy Ja tale is a reference to the artist, it only serves as a basis for a more complex interpretation. In King and I, Oh explores power relationships, and tensions between sexes as expressed through dynamic symbolism. As a result, the works in this exhibition uncover a personal narrative of social, cultural, and gender identity. In the process of self-discovery, Oh finds answers to questions about the dichotomy of her dual cultural identity as a Korean-American artist. Yet, it is inspired by tensions between the opposing energies within societies, cultures, and gender.
Flowing on a visual journey of East and West philosophies, Oh places the viewer as an unequivocal witness to the powerful energy and subtle fragility of the volcanic blossom the artists refers to as “Volossom”. It also allures to blossom as a manifestation of will.
Using floral abstraction to represent “Volossom”, Oh alludes to a modern Venus while conveying masculinity; a flower in bloom, although often seen as feminine, has both female and male reproductive components.
InJung Oh reconnects with a larger personal reality and a social and psychological narrative of our contemporary collective experience. King and I delineates the passion of an emerging artist on a long journey of discovery and self-awareness.
Sergio Gomez, MFA
Curator/Director of Exhibitions
Zhou B Art Center