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Untitled: Plane, Layer

Jake Boggs, Inah Choe, Kalani Largusa, Dhehee Lee, Nick Schleicher

Curated by Gallery JJ

Gallery JJ


Seoul, Korea

June 16th - July 22nd, 2023


Gallery JJ is pleased to present Untitled: Plane, Layer, featuring five artists practicing in different cultural contexts in the United States and Korea. The exhibition highlights the enduring appeal of plasticity in abstraction, a crucial component of modern art that continues to captivate us today, and presents recent works by painters Dhehee Lee, Inah Choe, Kalani Largusa, and Nick Schleicher, as well as ceramic artist Jake Boggs. They explore the possibilities of new abstraction by delving into the inherent qualities of the plane and its materiality.


The concept of flatness, once emphasized as an objective in modernist painting, has evolved into a decisive and abstract element in contemporary art, and many artists continue to reinterpret it in their own ways. Despite concerns about the relationship between outdated aesthetics and commercial viability, the prevalence of simulacra and superficial images we experience in globalized society today contributes to alternative means of flatness and depth.

The five artists in the exhibition approach their work with careful planning and techniques instead of chance, refraining from excessive emotion or objectification. As one of the methods, they explore abstract techniques fundamental to painting, such as mark-making and the use of repetitive layers on the picture plane. The layers, built in different methods by each artist, emphasize the flatness and evoke the pure aesthetic structure of painting. They also incorporate contrasting elements in color, material, and form. These include the deliberate superimposition of lines and opposing colors by Largusa and Lee, the ambiguous depth of surface resulting from the materiality of pigments by Schleicher, the hybrid forms bridging different times and spaces by Boggs, and the interplay between the fragments of representation and abstraction, sensorial and formal elements by Choe. Each artist's exploration of the plane and layer alone sparks intriguing dialogs about abstract art in the present day.

From their distinctive visual languages, we can glimpse into the narratives of each artist's life and perspective on the world. Lee's work challenges our visual perception by presenting viewers with an assembly of hovering formal elements in painting, rather than specific objects or images. These coexisting yet reserved and elusive elements may reference his identity and encounters within a multicultural environment. Choe builds abstract narratives at the boundary between figuration and abstraction, revealing a world shaped by the layers of fleeting moments. Schleicher's vibrant color field pursues a more human aspect, cleverly challenging the exactness and clarity of minimalism while questioning universal order and permanence. Largusa's abstract paintings hold a poetic sensibility and stimulate discourse in contemporary art through his dynamic brushstrokes that trace the 'process of painting' and mark-making over time. Boggs, as the sole ceramic artist in this exhibition, combines Eastern and Western traditions and disparate historical forms to create a transcendental and familiar yet foreign hybridity that prompts reflection on our existence within time.

This exhibition explores the potential expansion of abstraction through their work, offering a fresh perspective on their artistic practices. Largusa, and Boggs, recognized for their robust artistic language, are acclaimed for their work in Hawaii, and Schleicher is actively involved in the art scene in St. Louis, Missouri. Meanwhile, Lee has also been received well by the public in Korea and has his works collected by major art institutions, while Choe is gradually showcasing her artistic prowess now. These five have shared ongoing dialogues and mutual commitment to aesthetic pursuits while interacting in different locations, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to studios in Hawaii. To support and celebrate their covalent artistic practices, some previously showcased their work together in Flowers for my friends (2019, 2022).

Though their diverse abstract works cannot be confined to a single framework, they share an attitude of traversing between order and spontaneity, learning from history, and layering expressions beyond physical and temporal boundaries. The exhibition explores the prospects and expansions of abstract art in the twenty-first century while looking at how their artistic language questions newness, originality, and their direction within the discourse. It offers encounters with unfamiliar thoughts extracted from familiarity and conventions, inviting the viewers to experience the liberation of abstract minds, akin to contemplating the work titled Untitled.

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