Art exhibit inspired by Canadian and Korean landscapes
By Cheryl Minns, Senior Columnist
From Korea to Canada, nursing to teaching, artist Ilsoo Kyung has plenty of life experience to draw on for her mixed media art. Her latest exhibit, Jayeonmi, opens October 27 at the Amelia Douglas Gallery and will feature her nature-inspired paintings, etching, sculptures, prints, and more.
Kyung began her artistic career with Fine Arts courses at Emily Carr University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“During the second day in an art class, the instructor said she thought I had been painting before, but it was my first time,” she said. “That encouraged me to continue painting.”
Kyung retired from her nursing career in 2002 and transitioned into becoming a full-time art student.
“I worked all my life, so I didn’t want to stay at home when I retired. I decided to do painting and it was a smooth transition. I really enjoyed taking courses,” she said.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from UBC in 2006, she decided to complete an Art Education Diploma at UBC. Now she teaches a seniors’ acrylic painting class in Richmond.
Kyung draws inspiration for her artwork from her experiences in nature, both in Canada and her homeland of Korea.
“My home in Ladner, BC provides dramatic subject matter with diverse landscapes,” she wrote in her artist statement on her website, IlsooKyung.com.
“When I was a little girl, my hometown was a very small town with mountains, lakes, rivers, and ponds. It was a one-hour walk from home to school. That really inspired me,” said Kyung, who immigrated to Canada in 1967.
The exhibit’s title, Jayeonmi, is the Korean word for natural beauty, which suits the multicultural, nature-themed exhibit.
“Full moon” is an impressionist print that shows Kyung’s connection to nature from a young age. The portrait features a dark-haired little girl in a yellow top and red skirt hanging from a tree branch emerging from a full yellow moon.
Some of her other works are intended to spark discussions about the environment, such as her underwater print series that features salmon and human faces overlapping landscapes to show nature’s connection.
“I did a beautiful landscape picture and then put the salmon in and other little pieces. It combined for an environmental meaning,” she said. “I like to give a message to people.”
An opening reception for Jayeonmi will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Amelia Douglas Gallery on October 27. Kyung will give an artist talk at 10 a.m. in the gallery on October 28.
Jayeonmi will be on display until December 10 in the Amelia Douglas Gallery on the fourth floor of the Douglas College New Westminster campus.