I had a near religious experience viewing her work. Then I had this feeling of artistic hopelessness. I thought to myself, I will never be as eloquent as this, why am I even trying?
Have you ever been out hiking and the trail was, as far as you were concerned, challenging, but you were rather pleased with yourself for tackling it in the first place and the success you seemed to be having in doing it, but then out of nowhere a hiker, at least half your age and carrying a fully loaded backpack, streaks by with a smile on her/his face and barely breaking a sweat? Yah, that experience. Humbling, isn't it?
Since this blog is about a metaphorical climb up Mount Everest, I thought perhaps the hiking metaphor would be a good way to approach the experience I had last weekend of viewing the solo show of Jayoung Yoon, a young artist who recently moved to Beacon, at Theo Ganz Gallery.
I had a near religious experience viewing her work. Then I had this feeling of artistic hopelessness. I thought to myself, I will never be as eloquent as this, why am I even trying? I wanted to go home and curl up in fetal position. I despaired of ever having something meaningful and eloquent to say to anyone.
Yah, she is that good. If you have seven grand to spare I would highly recommend investing in one of her sculptures. I am convinced they will be worth much more some day, not that you should ever want to part with it for any amount of money.
Ms. Yoon has evolved an art practice that uses her own hair to sculpt the most ethereal 3d forms you can imagine. And the process is nothing short of a deeply spiritual meditation on the nature of being. It is profound.
I am told that she grows her hair for two years at a time, and then shaves it all off. She then makes what she makes, and creates videos in which the forms appear as thoughts floating out from her head. I can imagine this practice extending well into the future and shifting as time, aging and her experiences suggest it should. Growing deeper and more profound with each generation.
It is not unlike the path I have embarked on in my photographic and writing process. I make the work meditatively, ritualistically, religiously. Then I assemble it into a diary of visual and textual impressions. I am pleased with the results I am getting, even if humbled in the face of the work Ms. Yoon is presenting. Still, she makes me wish I had been this focused for a much longer time than I have.
I've gotten over my inclination to commit artist harakiri. I've moved on to absorbing the lesson that the best work is rooted in something deeply personal that the artist has no choice but to express. That it becomes transcendent because it is so rooted in the personal and because the artist has dedicated his/herself to giving it expression.
I will reach the summit in my own grasshopper time and way. I look forward to comparing notes on the experience with you Sensei.