Jong Oh (1981-)
Aliases: Oh Jong
Jong Oh Biography
The Korean artist Jong Oh (born in 1981) creates site-specific spatial installations. He carefully approaches a particular setting and responds to the given spatial situation through his works. Oh describes this process as follows: “Responding to a site’s nuanced configuration, I build spatial structures by suspending Plexiglas and painted strings in the air. These elements connect or intersect with one another, depending on the viewers’ perspectives. Viewers walk in and around these paradoxical boundaries constituted by three-dimensionality and flatness, completion and destruction. The viewers’ experience becomes a meditation on perception’s whim.”
In these compositions, Oh makes use of a limited selection of materials: string, fishing line, Plexiglas, and wooden rods. The strings are sometimes painted on one side and are thus visible from one side only or almost entirely invisible. By constantly arranging these materials anew, Oh adds the suggestion of additional dimensions to the three-dimensional space. Lights and shadows extend these configurations by offering visual effects so that the highly fragile works resemble optical illusions of falling perspectives. In this dialogue of lines and planes, Oh is testing the limits of visibility. The works require an increased awareness of delicate oscillations and variations. Jong Oh is thus clearly making a case for an attention to small details, especially in the hectic bustle of everyday life. In a highly formal language that is almost completely free of narrative moments, Oh appeals above all to the viewers’ experience of the world. Alternating between sculpture and intervention, intangible image and installation, Oh considers each of his works as a carefully composed visual poem: “The works become subtle and restrained visual poems. Each only a few lines long, but addressing the universal.”
Jong Oh was born in 1981 in Mauritania, North Africa and moved to Korea at age 15 earning his BFA from Hongik University in Seoul and eventually his MFA from School of Visual Art in New York, where he now lives and works. He had a recent 2016 solo exhibition at the University of Connecticut Art Galleries. In 2014-5 he has had solo exhibitions at Krinziger, Austria; Jochen Hempel, Leipzig; and MARSO, Mexico City. He has been in numerous group exhibits worldwide. In 2011, Oh was one of 12 artists in FIRST LOOK at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, a juried show of leading art graduates in the US. In 2014 he won a competition to create a large scale public installation along the Hudson River in Peekskill, New York.