Artist Sun K. Kwak challenges perceptions of familiar surroundings with her installations of energetic gestural drawings. Her medium is black masking tape, stretched, torn, and shaped in response to the spaces she encounters. Her own extemporaneous physical movements become a drawing in space which for her is both meditative and performative.
“At the close of the exhibition, the space once again becomes blank as the black tape of the drawings is pulled off the wall and thrown out. This process of emptying the space is a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and my acceptance of the emptiness of that nature. Yet the drawing lives on in viewer’s memories as an imprint that leaves the space forever altered.”—Sun K. Kwak
“I don’t want people to stare at my work, but to feel it by walking into the picture. The space changes as the work and audience interact together.”—Sun K. Kwak
“. . . the Holy Spirit, unable to express the fullness of His meaning in ordinary words, utters mysteries in strange figures and likenesses . . .”—St John of the Cross
Sun K. Kwak, is a Korean-born, New York City-based artist. Drawing with masking tape has become her signature form of expression. Kwak began her career as a painter, but she felt locked into the shape of the canvas and frustrated by the distance she felt between herself and the materials. “I wanted to find a material that is direct,” she says. “One day, black masking tape popped into my mind. I went to the store to buy some. On my way back to my studio, I walked up a staircase going up to the roof that not many people used, and I began to tear and draw with the tape freely, with great enjoyment. It felt like black ink pouring out of my fingers. It felt so fresh, alive and free, for me.”
Her site-specific solo installations include the Charles B. Wang Center at New York State University, Stony Brook in 2016, the New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK in 2010, the Brooklyn Museum, NY in 2009, and the Queens Museum at Bulova, New York in 2001. Her work was included in group exhibitions at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan in 2015, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco in 2012, the Samsung Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul in 2010, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin in 2007, The 6th Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju, Korea in 2006, and the Drawing Center, NY in 2004 and 2005. Her work is in the permanent collections of Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, “Percent for Art New York”, PS298 Public Art Project (will be completed and installed in 2017), and the Samsung Life flagship among others. She was a recipient of the Pollock Krasner Grant in both 2011 and in 2006.