Fri 8 Sep 2023 to Sat 30 Sep 2023
Artist: Sooim Jeong
Workplace presents Summer Remains, a solo exhibition of new paintings by London based artist Sooim Jeong. The artist’s first exhibition at Workplace since joining the gallery earlier this year, continues Jeong’s exploration of perceived reality and personal memory.
The artist’s practice draws upon a wide spectrum of experiences, from the profound weight of tragic loss to mundane and seemingly trivial interactions with strangers. With a restrained and sensitive colour palette and minimal calligraphic brushstrokes, she constructs playful compositions. Jeong’s approach is informed learning traditional calligraphy as a teenager in Korea. Bringing together disparate fragments of scattered past and more recent memories, Jeong recomposes these into images within the confined space of the canvas.
Created during the summer months, Jeong’s latest work embodies a deep reflection on past memories or, as she refers to them, ‘remains’ which have surfaced in her mind during this period. Jeong describes these as ‘the things left in my head, after the rest has evaporated away’. Her paintings are infused with raw and profound emotions, encapsulating the experience of confronting these memories. Throughout this introspective process, Jeong highlights the enduring imprints of the summer within her work.
Jeong repeatedly incorporates familiar imagery into her paintings such as shirts, mittens, and vases, each holding a distinct and singular meaning. Objects that make insignificant appearances in her memory, become the focus - and the only clear detail she can recall. Returning to her stylistic motifs - depictions of verdant foliage, orange fruit, and forms of smoke, drizzle, and haze - she delicately infuses her canvas with a whimsical, cartoon-like charm, influenced by her physical surroundings and experience of living close to Greenwich Park in Southeast London.
The work in the exhibition can be thought as a visual diary or record, as Jeong juggles both symbolic and metaphorical images, positioning the large and small events of her life side by side to be acknowledged with equal perspective and without distinction. As Jeong explains, this process provides her relief from angst, and simultaneously, a greater sense of trepidation at the nihilistic loss of meaning that this might imply.
Sooim Jeong (b.1983, Seoul, Korea) is an artist living and working in London. She completed her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts in 2010 and a BA in Fine Art at Kookmin University, Seoul in 2007. She has exhibited widely including Unit 1 Gallery (2021), Royal Academy in London (2020), Mostyn in Llandudno (2019), Phoenix Gallery in Exeter (2017), SIḾ Gallery in Reykjavík (2017), Highlanes Gallery in Drogheda (2016), Block 336 in London (2016), Interview Room 11 in Edinburgh (2014) and The Lightbox Museum in Woking (2014). Her work has been included in public and private collections worldwide. She has been shortlisted for the Mostyn Open 21 in 2019, the Exeter Contemporary Open in 2017 and also the Marmite Prize for Painting V in 2016. Recent residencies include Radical Residency at Unit1 Gallery Workshop in London (2019) and Sirius Art Centre Artist in Residence Programme in Cork (2018).