Earth(Artificial) Material Painting
–Goeun Song (Independent Curator)
The reflection and penetration of facade with glossy glass and the fragmented screen tone permeated on the incomplete architectural structure are the important materials for Wonhae Hwang’s recent artwork. It is disassembled and recombined in the canvas and presents a new material landscape. Such a repetitive outcome makes the complexity of the screen with the bluish movement of the images. However, the experiments on scenes that the artist takes are quite straight forward. Discovering the combination of materials, drawing it, and breaking up the symbol and the physical connection are what she tries to cultivate on the canvas as she immerses herself in the form of painting. She compares this method to a kind of cross processing.
Ignoring the bumpy surfaces of the real three dimensional environment, the images created by combining the pattern obtained from the outer layer of the building and the screen tone are overlaid with a landscape structure that is completely different from its original state.
Although the initial composition of the work has a transparency to follow up the traces, the final state of the painting and the process to determine its surface are not simple. The landscape that the artist has been paying attention changes over time, and it tells us why such the surfaces emerged. <Phantasmagoria> (ARTSPACE BOAN, 2018), which captures time and space at the historical level, like the words ‘Crack-ing/Reconstruction/Flake’ appearing in the title of the work, has taken the artist's attention all the way, and the language of creation and dissolution of the entire architectural structure became the relevant reference for determining the images. What the artist wants to focus at this point is a visual record of the traces, memories, accumulations, and conflicts of the city Seoul as well as physical space of it. The images deviate from the frame, overlapping or even penetrating through the cracks on the walls, but it still grasps the pictorial rhetorics of the flat surfaces. The attempt to blur the boundaries between real and virtual spaces with the frame of the canvas is more evident in <The Forth Wall> (ARTSPCAE Hyeong, 2020).
While the previous works combined the historical characteristics of the architecture with its unique visual elements, the recent works seem to focus
more on the physical effect itself which produces the surface. This can be found on the artist’s attitude toward the materials as she refers to the characteristics of the materials as ‘Suspension/Slurry/Emulsion’. This changes mean that the artist’s intention towards the image collection tends to capture the passive relationships of objects as they are. Rather than adding arbitrary interpretations on artificial things, including nature, it focuses on observing the actions and reactions. This brings up the images of the giant facade and the commercial advertising billboard in the city mixing with light reflection at the moment when the substances in a small glass flask reacts chemically. Currently, Wonhae Hwang’s perspective seems to linger between the observation and seeing. Looking at the outside world and reproducing the scenery are the old habit in the history of painting. It is very trivial and natural things, and the huge events and the consequences can not be forecasted.
Landscape, the conventional name
“At this moment, the conventional name, landscape, is no longer enough for us. This word somehow seems to mean nothing more than a hand skill, and my whole body rejects it. ... Now I suggest the following words: Earth life, a picture of earth life.”
In the past, landscape paintings were regarded as a low quality work that simply satisfies visual entertainment compared to historical paintings featuring saints or heroes. Only the landscape paintings with the appearance of figures and events in religion or mythology were barely appreciated. On the other hand, this genre, which has been pushed aside from the art academism, is guaranteed freedom from existing rules and ideas. This might be the reason that modernism after classical art is closely related with the subject of landscape. The illusion of the city becomes another concept of nature, and it is frequently encountered around us more than the real living nature. Given this situation, how can Wonhae Hwang’s painting be interpreted? Can it be said that the classical artist's  perspectives to treat everyday life as an organism so-called earth-lifepainting rather than ‘the conventional name of landscape’ may provide an open ending to each image that otherwise explained roughly on the same level with today’s technology and new generation? To not penetrate historical events into daily scenes captured by artists, and to continue aesthetic experiments by observing the new organic properties of the earth environment are similar to artists’ independent attitudes who work on landscape painting beyond of the mainstream of historical painting.
Collage and Mash-up, an Overlooked Technique
What kind of forms does the technique have beside the broad concept of painting genre? The most eye catching points are the two-dimensional combination between the three-dimensional architecture and the screen tone which is a virtual shading effect. This combination is emerged in the form of a collage that goes back and forth between the real and the digital. If the collage from back then aimed at absence which is the opposite of representation, it is now embodied in the overall painting process of conception, production, and arrangement as a skill. It belongs to the same category as mash-up  which takes a key role in the production of images in contemporary art, and they are mixed with each other and have a great influence on image production. However, ironically, traces of these techniques (especially in painting) are again deleted with ‘the hand technique’. ‘The hand technique’, which has been neglected, is not just treated as a mere tool of representation, but rather becomes a factor that secures intentional ’ambiguity’ in the image created by digital technology. Wonhae Hwang’s artworks do not depart from the logic of digital convergence, which finds an appropriate connection between technology and concepts. By the brush strokes and margin among the planned images in a virtual environment, the artist gives the screen an appropriate abstraction, and at the same time the physical interaction and the expression of the work are emphasized. In this exhibition, the artist has an intention to keep the flatness of painting in her own way through the recognition of audiences facing the artificial object in the canvas as she crosses the ambiguous boundaries between the compromised perspectives and the frame. The artist explores the substantial matter of the landscape we have passed by and is looking for a new space for another quality.
 A tool in media animation production used for gray scale shadow, shape, and pattern. In this paragraph, it means a tone for paper manuscript used in the past. Recently, there is a computer manuscript for the same purpose. See National Institute of Korean Language.
 Beside the standard values already determined in photography such as the film manufacturer, lights, and chemical substance, the customers intentionally change the standard values to affect the outcome.
 Lee Hwajin, 2018, Association of Western Art History,Carl Gustav Carus 『 Nine Letters on Landscape Painting (Neun Briefe über Landschaftsmalerei, Leipzig: Fleischer』(1831),
 Carus uses the neologism earth-lifepainting (Erdlebenbildkunst) to criticize landscape painting tradition and modern perspectives on nature. Based on the philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Carus asserts the oneness of nature and human spirit.
 Gunkel, David J,『Of Remixology: Ethics and Aesthetics after remix)』, MIT PRESS, 2016.