Jae Ko : Force of Nature


Jae Ko : Force of Nature
Nov 13, 2014 – Jan 1, 2015

"Nature rules the creative process. As the paper absorbs the ink, its shape changes...it may collapse inward expressing a depth of emotion – or it may be domed as if an expression of great hope. It's in the potential of the common materials to be transformational..."
- Jae Ko

Robischon Gallery is pleased to present its fifth solo exhibition for internationally-recognized, Korean-born sculptor Jae Ko. Prominently featured in the gallery is an installation of Ko's "Force of Nature," which debuted to critical acclaim at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D. C. in 2011. With the artist's chosen medium of paper, Ko works in a more improvisational free-form manner stacking bundles as she shapes space. In a different approach than her signature rolled and glued works, Ko re-engages with over one hundred, large, loose bundles of brown craft paper to engulf a gallery wall measuring nearly 40-feet in length. As in all of the artist's works, transforming common materials in pioneering and ingenious ways has been the hallmark of Ko's lengthy and noteworthy career. In addition to the Force of Nature installation, a series of ink-soaked sculptures, in both her rolled and twisted techniques, are exhibited in contrast and as compliment to the recycled paper of the shape-shifting, massive scale, Force of Nature. Unlike her individual wall works, Force of Nature tests a kind of gravitational tipping point – its form pushing at the edge of collapse. Nonetheless, the installation remains fixed as each soft, asymmetric spool relies, in mass, upon the next.

Jae Ko's sense of form and personal process of utilizing rolled paper – namely adding machine paper as her chosen medium for wall and floor sculptures – has made Ko uniquely influential as a distinctive artist. Well-known for her earlier series of contained circular, ink-soaked sculpture with velvet-like, ribbon surfaces, her later smooth-surfaced spun works offer a shift in both form and approach. In this series, Ko's twisted or torqued rolls of paper are transformed to resemble animated, pulled taffy-like shapes with rich, matte surfaces of calligraphy ink, Sumi ink, graphite or carpenter's glue. Having explored a dramatic color range intermittently throughout her career from jarring greens and electric blues, the artist's signature palette always returns to the nature-based tonalities of coal black, deep crimson and butter yellow of the natural world. The sweeping, undulant lines of Jae Ko's sculptures recall the wind-whipped pines in frozen motion and were inspired by the ancient bristlecone pine forests in California's White Mountains. Furthering the artist's initial inspiration, Ko distills her elegant forms and achieves technical and thematic resonance in an ever-evolving relationship between idea and medium.

Based in Washington, D.C., Jae Ko is a Pollack-Krasner Foundation award recipient and has a B.F.A. from Wako University in Tokyo, Japan and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. and Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. is currently being shown in "Speculative Forms" at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the artist is working toward a large-scale installation exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey which opens in March of 2015 that will be over 100 feet wide 20 feet tall in an 8,000-square-foot gallery.