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Wind that Blows From the East


Wang Yeul

Opening Reception
Friday, February 16, 2024, 4-6pm


Shatto Gallery is pleased to present Wind that Blows from the East - Utopia, paintings by artist Wang Yeul, his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Wang, a pioneer of Korean traditional landscape painting, deconstructs traditional landscapes while embracing and reinterpreting some of its distinctive elements. He experiments with the effects of new types of line delineation using new materials such as acrylic, gesso, gold dust, silver dust, and varnish, as well as cloth-based ink, maximizing the effects of conventional brush lines on a background applied with these mixed materials.

Wang’s work is filled with natural elements such as mountains, birds and trees. It seemingly looks like a simple landscape painting at first glance, but as the viewer searches longer they can find some hidden symbols and metaphors. He adopts natural elements as metaphoric expressions for modern people and life, their different feelings and emotions. Through the use of symbols, he emphasizes a spirit of painting rather than a formal quality or a concrete description of forms and explores the hardness of life and existential problems as well as some positive aspects of contemporary life.

“The meaning of Utopia in the west consists of two words: ou-topos meaning “no place” and eu-topos meaning a “good place”. People seek for it but of course cannot find that place in reality. This place is a sort of symbolic shelter where people in modern times feel relaxed. Through the decades many artists have tried to express their own utopias, and yet those worlds are often depicted as a superficial world that contrasts with an actual world. For instance, the utopia is often depicted as full of food when poverty spreads over the world; the other utopia is described as a natural world as technology controlled the world. These worlds are, as mentioned above, all fictions because a utopia does in fact not exist.

In my painting I do not want to create an illusory utopian world. I would rather face and enjoy real life. I believe that this is a true pleasure. What intentions an artist has is more important than how to depict what he or she paints. When an artist only relies on what he or she sees with their eyes, they could miss the more important things in art such as a spirit of mind. To obtain a real perception of forms, an artist needs to see through objects they paint and strive to capture an intrinsic aspect of them. An artist is able to lighten things with their spirit”. 

- Wang Yeol

Curatorial Team
Yujin Iris Jeong   |   Suzie John   |    Seohui Chi

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