At French cafe, an Aussie addresses Korean themes

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At French cafe, an Aussie addresses Korean themes

Sunday's sunlight shone red through the curtains of the Le Saint-Ex Bistro, where several dozen guests sipped white wine and climbed the restaurant's three steps in animated waves. Their reason for coming to the restaurant hung quietly in the background -- 14 still life oils by Maryanne Wick, each describing a moment in Korean life in simple, understated strokes.

"People don't really see," the 43-year-old Australian explained excitedly before pausing to gaze at the browns and greens on the canvas to her right. "I'm trying to take the perceptions and emotions and put them into still life."

Her paintings address Eastern themes from a Western angle, using a style and mode of composition indicative of her training in Sydney to paint simple shapes in local colors. "It represents the two sides of where I am," she said.

Ms. Wick finally made Korea her home in April 2001 after visiting Seoul on and off for three years to be with her husband, Peter, who works here.

Prior to settling in Korea, she spent time in both Beijing and London. "It makes you really see," she said of her traveling. Now, through her art, she is trying to make other people see.

As Benjamin Joinau, owner of the Le Saint-Ex Bistro, described her work, "There's a little twist in every object."

Among Ms. Wick's admirers were an Australian Embassy official, Jane M. Hardy, and her husband and painter, Vytas Kapociunas, who bought "Still Life No. 3." "It's really Korean purity," Ms. Hardy said.

This exhibit marks Ms. Wick's first in Seoul as well as a departure from her regular work, which usually focuses on snapshots of suburbia. Her art will be on display at Le Saint-Ex Bistro until Sunday.

by Daniela SantaMaria

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