Here to There

Things Far Held Near

Press Release

March 9, 2022 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Here to There, a solo exhibition by South Korean-born, Oakland-based painter, Younhee Paik. The artist’s surreal, often abstract paintings combine symbolism, celestial imagery, and strong feminist undertones. Paik’s work tells the story of her life, touching on themes of immigration, motherhood, and the artist’s connection to nature. The exhibition features a selection of works made within the last decade from her series “Golden Climb,”“City Awaken,” “Ancient River,” and “Ascending.” Here to There will be open to the public from March 24 - May 21, 2022, with an opening celebration with the artist hosted on March 26 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM PST.

 

The exhibition title, Here to There, speaks to a journey -  literal, emotional, and metaphorical. Paik has made big moves geographically over the course of her life, but the real journey in Paik’s mind is one toward a personal achievement in her art. And with each journey comes many detours — the artist may start painting with certain ideas and images in mind, but over the course of working she finds life has taken her elsewhere. This offers itself as both a struggle and a blessing. 

 

The symbols in her work reinforce this idea of movement from one place to another; ladders, stairs, and steps feature prominently in the artist’s “Ascending” series. Paik was living in San Francisco during that time, juggling her housework, children, and her artwork. During this time, her painting studio was located in the basement of her house, and the persistent question in her life was how to paint while raising a family — in other words, how to find time to go down the stairs. This is, of course, a common dilemma for many women artists, and one that is often generational and culturally informed. Paik found inspiration and support to keep painting from her mother, whose familial obligations kept her from pursuing her own singing career. 

 

With work rooted in the natural world, Paik derives much of her imagery from her time living by the ocean as a young child during the Korean War. In Asia, trees are considered to be ancestors and there is a great respect for nature in Korean culture. Paik’s own love and respect for nature was taught to her by her father, and this influence on her imagination can be seen in repeated motifs of water and fish. 

 

A recent work takes outer space as its inspiration; Columbus Finds the Way grapples with the later part of Paik’s journey as an artist and a woman. Now that her children are grown, she feels like she can truly immerse herself in her work without interruption or obligations — a common experience for women who are not able to pursue their creative ambitions until later in life. The painting, which shows a scene in outer space, was created on six separate aluminum plates mounted on wood, and decorated with oil paint and a special technique involving poured turpentine. The dotted lines in the work represent time passing in seconds and heartbeats as the artist searches for new adventures in the universe. The planetary shapes are created by cutting off the bottom of the plastic dishes the artist uses for mixing paints, which are coated with excess color. These shapes are then pasted as collage elements on the works. Paik is drawn to celestial scenes, reminiscent of the many nights she would work in silence after her children went to bed. In the late hours, she continues to find inspiration in the expansive, unending night sky. 

 

About the Artist

Younhee Paik was educated first in South Korea, and later in San Francisco where she received her M.F.A. and resided as an active artist for over thirty years while continually revisiting her homeland. For the past twelve years, she has held a studio and exhibited in New York, San Francisco, and Seoul. She is a passionate, expressive painter whose feelings assume a masterful presence in large, dynamic paintings.

 

The Asian attributes of Paik’s work are reflected by subject and method as her pieces are about transformation and transition between the material and spiritual worlds. Her choice of symbols represents both the work of nature and man: water and bridges, forests and ships, stars and ladders. Her sky paintings are filled with motifs that have both universal meaning and human reasoning. Her metaphors can be extended to her most recent development on large, unframed canvas and aluminum plates. Most important of these metaphors are the lights she uses in various ways. Light here signifies the beyond—spiritual beyond—light of heaven.

 

Paik’s strength as an artist is that she continues to paint her wonder, throwing aside a certain regard for life as it is.

 

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March 9, 2022 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Choice, Chance, and Change, a solo exhibition of acrylic paintings by Canadian-American artist, Ilana Manolson. Drawing from her professional background as a naturalist for Parks Canada and avid outdoorsperson, and inspired in part by traditional Chinese painting, her richly expressive artworks aim to make visible the connections and interdependencies between all elements in nature. In doing so, she hopes her work offers an occasion to cherish the joys of the natural world, and, at the same time, to seriously consider the present threat of environmental destruction and the difficult choices that lie ahead. Choice, Chance, and Change will be open to the public from March 24 - May 21, 2022 with an opening celebration hosted on March 26th from 4:00 - 7:00 PM PST.

 

Choice, Chance, and Change provides a broad cross-section of Manolson’s oeuvre, with an emphasis on the paths and patterns of water, as well as the plant life that exists alongside it. Conceptually, Manolson embraces change and is particularly interested in fluctuating ideas of time and place. For the last 20 years, she has painted milkweed plants in the autumn to honor the changing seasons; The milkweed plant holds seeds inside a pod, and when the autumn wind comes it releases the seeds. Manolson sees this as an exemplary image of the concept of interconnectedness and the cyclical sequencing of natural events. The milkweed, as depicted in her work Fall Purse, marks the start of the autumn as the milkweed plants for the next season. 

 

Pattern of Place also centers around concepts of time and space, showcasing how different parts of nature play into and against one another — how water moves differently than wind or stone, and how each of those elements maintains its own unique concept of time. As an artist, Manolson participates in this temporal practice, too; her painting process involves putting down and taking away pigment, building up layers and changing them slowly over time. 

 

The artist draws inspiration from traditional Chinese painting practices and aesthetics, including the use of wide Chinese brushes that Manolson first acquired as a child on a family visit to the country. She’s particularly drawn to conceptual and aesthetic philosophies that inform Chinese art. For example, viewing white space on a canvas not as “negative space” but as a positive, active area of breath and possibility. 

 

Manolson has spent her whole life quietly entreating people to look closer and more carefully at nature, to get them to see that what happens upstream ultimately happens downstream. Her work elucidates how changes in our natural environment affect us all in both subtle and substantial ways. The work embraces a dichotomous truth so central to today’s reality — that we must celebrate the beauty and joy of nature, while grieving and combating the ravages of climate change.

 

About the Artist

Ilana Manolson, a Canadian/American painter, printmaker and naturalist, is represented by the Jason McCoy Gallery in New York, The Cadogan Contemporary Gallery in London, and Nicola Rukaj Gallery in Toronto.  Her work has been exhibited at many galleries and museums including the Jason McCoy Gallery, the Clark Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the De Cordova Museum, Fuller Museum, Boston Public Library, Brown University, Endicott College, Ballin Castle Museum, Regis College, and Gordon College.  Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Berkeley Museum,  the RISD Museum, the Danforth Museum, the De Cordova Museum, the Boston Public Library, the Ballin Castle Museum and numerous corporate collections.

 

She is a two-time winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship for Painting  (2008-11 and 2018-21) and also received the St. Botolph Artist Grant, Boston.  Her residencies include the Banff Centre for the Arts residency where she was a Leighton Fellow, the Mass MOCA residency,  theBallinglen Arts Foundation residency (three times), Yaddo Artist Colony, and Banff School of Fine Arts.  She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

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Younhee Paik

St. Clemente - Near

2006

Oil & Mixed Media On Canvas

96 x 72 in

Younhee Paik

St. Clemente - Far

2006

Oil & Mixed Media On Canvas

96 x 72 in


Younhee Paik

St. Clemente - Ashland

2006

Oil & Mixed Media On Canvas

96 x 72 in

Younhee Paik

St. Maurice - Night

2010

Oil On Canvas

96 x 72 in

Younhee Paik

St. Peter & Paul

2005

Oil On Canvas

72 x 84 in

Younhee Paik

Columbus Finds The Way

2015

Oil On Aluminum

78 x 96 in

Younhee Paik

Golden Climb #1

2008

Oil On Aluminum

40 x 30 in

Younhee Paik

Golden Climb #3

2008

Oil On Aluminum

40 x 30 in

Younhee Paik

Chapter 1

2010

Oil On Aluminum

30 x 48 in

Younhee Paik

Dance Of Seagull

2019

Oil On Aluminum

36 x 40 in

Younhee Paik

Sail In Moonlight

2021

Oil On Aluminum

36 x 40 in

Younhee Paik

Ancient River - Legend

2015

Oil On Aluminum

30 x 40 in

Younhee Paik

Sailing To West

2021

Oil On Aluminum

36 x 51 in

Younhee Paik

Can I Reach?

2018

Oil On Aluminum

48 x 36 in

Younhee Paik

Departure Morning

2019

Oil On Aluminum

24 x 36 in

Younhee Paik

Above Wave

2022

Oil On Aluminum

17 x 24 in

Younhee Paik

Great Wall

2022

Oil On Aluminum

17 x 24 in

Younhee Paik

Moon Watcher

2021

Oil On Aluminum

17 x 24 in

Younhee Paik

Passage Through Cave

2021

Oil On Aluminum

17 x 24 in

Younhee Paik

Homecoming

2022

Oil On Aluminum

17 x 24 in

Younhee Paik

Sunset Tree

2009

Acrylic On Paper

14 x 17 in

Younhee Paik

Together

2012

Acrylic On Paper

14 x 17 in

Ilana Manolson

Of The Wing

2018

Acrylic on Yupo

22 x 58 in

Ilana Manolson

Marks for the Wind

2018

Acrylic on Yupo

48 x 48 in

Ilana Manolson

Knowing

2021

Acrylic on Yupo

34 x 61 in

Ilana Manolson

Giants We Stand With

2018

Acrylic on Yupo

30 x 55 in

Ilana Manolson

Fall Purse

2015

Acrylic on Yupo

37 x 25 in

Ilana Manolson

Connecting Line

2020

Acrylic on Yupo

80 x 30 in

Ilana Manolson

Call Response

2020

Acrylic on Yupo

80 x 30 in

Ilana Manolson

Bloodstream

2022

Acrylic on Yupo

32 x 30 in

Ilana Manolson

A River I Know By Days

2020

Acrylic on Yupo

57 x 30 in

Ilana Manolson

Trees

2020

Acrylic on Yupo

24 x 14 in

Ilana Manolson

Banff Thistle

2019

Acrylic on Yupo

14 x 11 in

Ilana Manolson

A Flower By Name

2021

Acrylic on Yupo

5 x 7 in

Ilana Manolson

Pattern of Place

2019

Acrylic on Yupo

30 x 53 in


Ilana Manolson

Selective Seeing

2020

Acrylic on Yupo

30 x 70 in

Ilana Manolson

Upstream

2021

Acrylic on Yupo

32 x 32 in