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The works by Sun Young Byun prove that painting can hold its own against interior design prove. The Korean artist playfully mixes Asian and European patterns, confusing our typical orientation and thus readying us for an optical adventure. This journey flowers out of an overflow of styles: a calendar with Pop Art images by Roy Lichtenstein on a violet and pink flowered wallpaper, next to that a chair upholstered in budding blooms. A small table with grandmother’s white crocheted tablecloth bedecked with family photos, the characters in which Byon reveals only as white cut-out silhouettes. Of all things, the houseplants also remain white and look as they have been cut from the picture; these are empty spaces among the room’s opulent ornamentation.
As early as her painting studies, Sun Young Byun distanced herself from traditional motifs such as still lifes to search instead for everyday objects for her images that did not necessarily need to be carefully arranged. The more she tried to unjudgmentally combine opposites such as art and the everyday, luxury items and kitsch, the more experimental her selections and her way of dealing with the objects became. She began to turn an entire system of values on its head.
In her current works she plays with unusual perspectives of interior spaces. She conjures furniture, wallpapers, objects like vases and wall calendars, carpets, and doors into a mutual two-dimensional existence on the canvas. No perspectival sight lines or constructed back- and foreground divide or organize the colorful objects. Following the ideals of French legend Matisse, colorful effects and surface patterns weave themselves into a spectacular visual quilt. The perspectival illusion disappears because the artist dispenses with sharp dividers, constructed vanishing lines, and framing shadows, flooding the eye with decoration.
Idealism and reality, dream and everyday life begin to overlap in these unusual images. Sun Young Byun masterfully conducts the most varied traditions, cultures, and styles in a harmonious composition, an aesthetic challenge with new symbolic power.
1967 born in Seoul, South Korea 1986 Seoul Art High School, Seoul, South Korea 1991 BFA, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea 1994
MFA, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea 1996
teaching assistant, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA 1997
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA 1997-1999
professor, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Georgia, USA 2001-2003
instructor, Seoul Women’s University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea 2001
instructor, Hong-Ik University, Printmaking Department, Seoul, Südkorea 2000-03
instructor, Hong-Ik University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea 2004-06
Extraordinary Professor, Seoul Women’s University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea since 2003 instructor, Dong-Guk University, Painting Department, Seoul, South Korea
lives and works in Seoul, South KoreaAwards
2007 MONTBLANC Young Artist World Patronage Competition, Hamburg, Germany 2006-07 International Artists Studio Program, Changdong, South Korea 1999
An Open Biennial Competition Organized Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, USA 1998
First Coast Regional Art Competition, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA 1997
Juried Competition, Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA 1996
Twenty-fifth Annual Works on Paper Competition, Cash&Purchase Awards, Northwest Art Center, Minot, North Dakota, USA Special Jury Review Committee Selects, Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Annual All Media Exhibition, Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, Michigan, USA 1993
Grand Prize at Art Competition Sponsored MBC Broadcasting Co, Seoul,South Korea
Special Prize at Korean Contemporary Prints Public Subscription, Seoul, South Korea 1992 Promotion Prize at Art Competition Sponsored MBC Broadcasting Co, Seoul, South KoreaExhibitions
2008 Alexander Ochs Galleries, Beijing, China and Berlin, Germany 2006
ArtPark, Seoul, South Korea 2004
Lee Hwa Ik Gallery, Seoul, South Korea 2002
Gallery HYUNDAI, Window Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Gallery IHN, Seoul, South Korea 1995
Forum Gallery, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA 1993
SaGak Gallery, Seoul, South Korea 1992 Batangol Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
2008 ART FORUM, Berlin,Germany Female Sensibility, Gallery ARTSIDE, Seoul, South Korea 2007
Pocheon Asia Biennale 2007, Pocheon, South Korea
Art in philosophy, Sungkok art museum, Seoul, South Korea
Taipei Art Fair, Taipei, Taiwan
Recomposition of Masterpiece, Savina Museum, Seoul, South Korea 2006
Christmas wish, Sp Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Hybrid trend Contemporary Art Exhibition, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, South Korea 2005
Magic, Art, Cho Sun Press Museum, Seoul, South Korea
Sink into Space, Art Factory, Heiri Kyungkido, Seoul, South Korea
Movement on silence, Gallery DOS, Seoul, South Korea 2004
Fiction, love - Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art, MOCA, Taipei, Taiwan
Exploration of Light & Colors, Seoul Arts center, Seoul, South Korea 2003
Plastic, Art Park, Seoul, South Korea 2002
Contemporary Art Fair, Central City Millenium Hall, Seoul, South Korea 1999
27th Bradley National Print Drawing Exhibition, Peoria, Illinois, USA 1998
Group Exhibition, D.M.I, Company, Michigan, USA 1997
Looking to the Far East, Juried Exhibition, Detroit Focus Market, Michigan, Michigan, USA 1996
Interdisciplinary Group Exhibition, Forum Gallery, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA 1993
The 19th Exhibition of Seoul Contemporary Art Festival, Seoul, South Korea 1991 Balcony Group Exhibition, Gallery 2000, Seoul, South Korea 1990 Cupid Group Exhibition, Do-ol Gallery, Seoul, South Korea