15 Billion Years of the Traveling Atom under Black Light
Mina Cheon's 15 Billion Years of the Traveling Atom under Black Light
at Maryland Art Place, June 7, 2012
As part of Mina Cheon’s Polipop & Paintings exhibition, Maryland Art Place (MAP) will hold a one-day event, which will illuminate Mina Cheon’s last hand-painted masterpiece, 15 Billion Years of the Traveling Atom under black light. This mammoth 72x8 foot hand painting was created for the renowned abstract-expressionist painter Grace Hartigan between 1997 -1998 while Cheon worked with her at the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Produced through the use of florescent acrylic on canvas, the piece was originally lit under black light and was presented with the inclusion of performance art and bubbles. MAP is currently showcasing this work for the first time under natural light, but will host a one-day only homage to the paintings original presentation nearly 15 years ago. The 15 Billion Years painting is a celebration of popular science and a cosmic portrayal of the Universe.
While at the gallery, viewers will also have the opportunity to spend time with Cheon’s current ‘Polipop’ works. Polipop is an art world that intersects politics and pop art. It takes serious discussions surrounding geopolitics of global, media culture and livens them up as accessible, eye - catching, provocative Pop Art. Cheon’s exhibition includes a series of digital paintings (8x5 feet each) coming from Cheon’s mid-career, solo exhibit at the Sungkok Art Museum in Seoul, Korea. When asked about North Korea, global media, and world politics, Cheon explains,
“At the end of 2011, I was in Seoul, Korea when North Korean leader Kim Jong-il passed away. There was a great deal of sadness and empathy amongst the South Koreans about the passing of North Korean's great father. This sentiment did not get across into global media and especially Western and American media. As always, one's national grief is never the business of other nations, especially when there are imperial motives and political agendas at play, but as such, while many South Koreans remembers their family members who still reside in North Korea, the rest of the world seems to be amused at the failure of North Korea. As a Korean-American, I cannot neglect the sadness behind our country's division, and know that one cannot solely blame North Korea. Korea sits between capitalist Japan and communist China, it is already between two dividing westernized Asian countries. While, the split between North and South Korea can be seen as a relic of the cold war, there is also the more immediate neighboring geography that says it all. As a contemporary Asian artist working in global times, it is imperative to look at these co-national geo-politics and respond to how global media shapes or skews our perception on how a nation is (in)formed or disregarded.”
Mina Cheon and Polipop and Paintings, have been featured in Voice of America (radio aired to North Korea on May 22), The Signal (WYPR, NPR) with Aaron Henkins, The Washington Korea Times, Artist Organized Art, Urbanite, The Sun Paper, and the Jewish Times.
Maryland Art Place
8 Market Place #100, Baltimore, MD 21202