East meets west
Curator Seung Lee alongside some of his more recent works, “Tree of Golden”(left) and “Tree of Soul” (right).


East meets west


EAST ISLIP—The Islip Art Museum unveiled last week “East Meets West,” a group exhibition of nine artists whose works are inspired by Eastern aesthetics and philosophies. Featured works include installation art, watercolors, collages, oil paintings, hand-stitched objects, stained glass and traditional Korean folk art.

 This newspaper spoke with some of the artists on Saturday, March 10 during the opening reception.

Curator Seung Lee’s artwork has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. He is also the director of fine arts and graduate studies at Long Island University, Post Campus. “Most artists like dealing with the inner self,” he said, “but I always encourage my students and other artists to project their work outward.”

Lee believes his interest in mixed media comes from the culture shock he felt when he moved to the United States from Korea. “I was trained as a traditional painter, but I still like the idea of mixing,” he said, adding that he has always been interested in people who are different than him. 

Lee also noted one of the first times he received any publicity for his artwork was when the Suffolk County News covered a solo exhibition of his, “Long Island Expressway Junk,” at Dowling College back in 1990. The pieces were assembled with junk he found on the side of the LIE. 

Stephanie S. Lee, the exhibit’s designer and assistant curator, is based in Bayside, Queens. She studied Korean traditional folk painting in South Korea and is currently enrolled at Pratt Institute. S. Lee has had six solo exhibitions and was selected for numerous group exhibitions, including the Edward Hopper House Art Center and Call for Chelsea. Her artwork has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal

S. Lee says the material possessions—jewels and other shiny objects—in her works aren’t meant to critique the negative aspects of materialism. “They can be the things we’ve always wanted,” she said, adding that these wants can have a positive impact on society, granted that people become the best they can be. 

 Susan Kelly is an Islip Town native and graduate of LIU Post. She has had three solo exhibitions and participated in more than 30 group exhibitions. Kelly uses traditional stained-glass techniques to create portraits of Korean pop idols. “Korean pop idols are held to much higher standards than American pop idols,” she explained, adding that, in a way, they are worshiped as holy figures and stripped of their humanity.

Sueim Koo is based in Nanuet, N.Y., and has done five solo exhibitions. Her work has also been featured in numerous other art fairs and exhibitions throughout the East Coast. Koo uses collage and oil painting to create abstract landscapes inspired by entries from her journal. “This process helps me overcome life’s challenges,” she said, “bringing an echo of hope.”

Other featured artists include Boy Kong, Sui Park, Evan Venegas, Jayoung Yoon and Dong Kyu Kim.

Dong Kyu Kim studied fashion design in South Korea and has since been working as a fashion designer in China, Mexico, South Korea and the United States for the past 20 years. His work continues to be exhibited in New York and the tri-state area, such as The Belskie Museum of Art and Science, Nabi Museum of the Arts, Riverside Gallery, Flushing Town Hall, Powerhouse Arena, The Metropolitan Pavilion, Hutchins Gallery, and Space 776.

 Boy Kong is a self-taught artist whose visual style juxtaposes multiple elements, such as animal folklore, graffiti art, surrealism and Ukiyo-e, a Japanese art movement that was prominent from the 17th through the 19th centuries. He divides his time between his native Orlando, Fla., and New York City.

Sui Park is a New York-based artist and interior architect born in Seoul, South Korea. She has had two solo exhibitions, “Playing with Perception” at the Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery in Chelsea, N.Y., and “Garden of Humans” at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. Park has also participated in over 70 other exhibitions, including most recently “Dismantle the Core” at Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.

 Evan Venegas has participated in over 40 group exhibits. He also received the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award in 2017 and the Community Supported Art and Design Award in 2015.

 Jayoung Yoon is a New York-based artist born in South Korea. Selected exhibitions in the United States include Bronx Museum of the Arts, Here Arts Center, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Jersey City Museum and Ohio Craft Museum. She was also awarded the BRIC Media Arts fellowship and the Franklin Furnace Fund. 

During the exhibition’s run, there will be a Korean tea ceremony by artist Sei Ryun Chun on March 22 from 3-5 p.m. and a workshop by artist Dong Kyu Kim on April 14 from 1-4 p.m.

The Islip Art Museum is located at 50 Irish Lane in East Islip. For more information, call: 631-224-5402 or online at www.islipartmuseum.org