PARK Seo-Bo at White Cube, London

This month White Cube presents the first solo exhibition of the Korean Modernist artist Park Seo-Bo in the UK. Lauded as the father of the ‘Korean Monochrome Movement’ (Dansaekhwa), Park is part of a generation of Korean artists severely affected and ultimately influenced by the civil war (1950-53) which resulted in the north-south divide that endures to this day. His often muted, always minimal palette has had broad impact on Korean modernism and as such, Park is widely regarded alongside Lee Ufan as one of the most significant voices in contemporary Korean art.   Sixteen works from Park’s ‘Ecriture’ series, begun in the late 1960s, are on display at Mason’s Yard. From a distance the works appear wholly monochromatic, simultaneously appearing and disappearing into the gallery space. On closer inspection however, the surfaces of these canvases are peppered with pencil marks, adding texture and signalling the hand of the artist. These scratches, incisions and inscriptions give the works a lyrical quality and hint at Park’s leaning towards an artistic methodology inspired by Buddhist and Taoist teachings. The repetitious mark-making has overtones of ‘the ritual’, in turn substantiating the feeling of spiritual calm created in the galleries. The sixteen works presented here are representative of his oeuvre between 1967-81. Park’s desire to make works devoid of emotion underpins his work of this period. This is echoed in the fact that each work was painted in a single sitting, thereby emphasising his dedication to expressing only nature through painting.    Born in 1931 in Yecheon, Gyeongbuk, South Korea, Park Seo-Bo went on to study at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, graduating in painting in 1954. Park’s work has been exhibited extensively on the international art stage, including the Venice Biennale (2015, 1988), Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2014), Busan Museum of Art (2010), Portland Museum of Art, Oregon (2010), Singapore Art Museum (2008), Kunsthalle Wien (2007), Tate Liverpool (1992), Brooklyn Museum (1981) and Expo’ 76, Montreal (1967)   Until 12 March 2016 at White Cube Mason’s Yard, St. James’, London SW1 www.whitecube.com – See more at: http://asianartnewspaper.com/gallery-shows/park-seo-bo-white-cube-london#sthash.ycUlOlyb.dpuf