Fields of green and gold glimmer at Gana Art exhibition

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Fields of green and gold glimmer at Gana Art exhibition


“Green Barley with Horseweed,” a 1995 painting by Lee Sook-ja, is part of the 70-year-old veteran artist’s solo show “Colorful Journey,” which starts at the Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, northern Seoul, tomorrow. Provided by the gallery

Large paintings of barley fields, some in hues of green, some in yellow and some in green and lavender fill a room at the Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, northern Seoul.

The works are part of the solo show, which continues through tomorrow, of Lee Sook-ja, the 70-year-old veteran artist best known for her barley field paintings.

The meticulous brush strokes that depict each barley stalk in her paintings help viewers visualize the winds blowing through the fields and allow them to feel as though they are standing right there. The paintings also have delicate glitter particles in them, which come from the amchae (ground stones including gemstones or colored crystals) used to make the works.

“When I made these paintings, I myself felt as if I were in a barley field full of vitality, and this healed me,” Lee said at a press preview yesterday. “So whenever I was under pressure, I painted barley fields instead of drinking. The way I paint demands a lot of effort, but the work has the effect of relieving the pressure and healing me.”

Lee will also show her “Eve’s Barley Field” series, which depict a woman lying naked amidst a field of barley.

“Yes, the women are erotic but they are not sexual eye candy,” she explained. “Rather, they are women who express themselves proudly.”

Lee’s oeuvre is not limited to just barley fields, as can been seen in her earlier works which are also on display at the show. In particular, there is a spectacular painting of Mount Paekdu from 2000 that she painted in a surreal white.

The exhibition runs until April 1. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Go to Gyeongbokgung Station, line No. 3, exit 3, and take bus No. 1711 to the Lotte Apartment stop. For more information, visit or call (02) 720-1020.

By Moon So-young []
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