Quiet Contemplation and Transparent Solace - on Hong Boram's Work
Gu Nayeon (Art critic)
The reason for being captivated by nature cannot be explained solely by its beauty. When we become a part of nature and establish a special connection, nature bestows upon us the gift of wonder. Nature exists in its own way, but the moment we accept it as a special state, a profound relationship is formed between nature and us. This is being within the phenomenon of nature, simultaneously being one of those phenomena, harmoniously changing in dynamic aspects. Hong Boram's work is about these established relationships and the forms that arise from them. In her work, the shapes of nature are crucial clues, but they are unrelated to concrete representational images. They are the points of connection created by the artist in small moments when she calmly faces nature, and she generates some tangible entity from the emotions derived from them.
This has a very smooth and robust flow, transitioning from sensation to shape, from shape to three-dimensionality, gradually manifesting into physical existence. Plywood is layered to give thickness, and whitening glue is applied to solidify the form. Endless horizontal and vertical lines are drawn on top by using ink, transforming the figure into a solid black object and an image. Through this process, it finally reaches the ‘form of solace’. The artist's experiences and the ongoing cycle of nature converge, becoming visible as forms of stability and solace. This transcends the friction of tightly intertwined social relationships, revealing abstract and liberating moments of shared encounters when facing nature in silence.
Furthermore, Hong Boram's work is the result of 'sculptural painting' with solid properties, rather than remaining confined to flat black-and-white drawings. The concentrated power exerted by the form itself, rather than through concrete reproduction, is endlessly soft yet solid, adhering to the wall while suddenly rising up. This dual state can be seen as the solidification of the moment when the transition from drawing to concrete reality occurs. Rather than simply painting with color, the black-and-white patterns inherent in her figures are the result of harmony and immersion caused by the accumulated and ignited lines. In other words, the comforting emotions she has found in living in the present approach us through the form revealed in immersion and the ignition of color itself.
The tension here between the seemingly imminent flow and the countless concentrations of lines is guided by solid harmony. This is further heightened by the interplay of black and white. The layers of black and white in her work capture the clarity of the moment when the infinite colors of nature momentarily subside, conveying the sheer weight of the moment through intense silhouettes. For this reason, within her images that flow organically without any flaws, there is an inherent resilience and a faint interplay of light and darkness, reminiscent of an illusion where a person appears far away, or like a mirage of a distant island in a vast sea.
And these black and white forms are each concrete and resolute entities, yet their arrangement gives rise to a variable harmony and narrative quality. Emerging from the ever-changing states of nature, these vivid artworks possess their own essence but are also integral parts of a whole that can achieve enmity and harmony at any time. Thus, they exist as independent objects with their own thickness and distance, but their coexistence is interconnected based on how we perceive and relate to them. This unique dynamism allows the comforting forms to sometimes appear distant and at other times move closer, creating an ever-changing impression.
We are part of nature, yet we often objectify it. If Hong Boram's work oscillates between flat and three-dimensional, individual and whole, line and color, it is related to our long-standing attitudes of assimilation and differentiation toward nature. The ever-changing fluctuations and rhythms, when transformed into comforting forms, are always ready to establish new relationships. However, this doesn't come from dramatic and grandiose distinctiveness. It comes from the immersion and healing that occur when the powers quietly held by nature find their way into the artist's daily life. And when the moments of small solace encountered alone in the present life take shape and are expressed, they soon start to be redirected towards comforting us. As a product of silent contemplation and a source of transparent solace.