Internationally recognized artist Jiyoung Chung brings the ancient joomchi tradition, a Korean method of hand felting hanji paper, into the world of contemporary art. Chung’s richly textured, dimensional joomchi sculptures create poetic visual narratives about connection, and the strengths and holes in the essential relationship between humanity, nature, and spirit.
Joomchi is a traditional Korean method of making handmade paper from multiple sheets of mulberry paper, water, and agitation. The process breaks down the layers of paper and reconnects them into one piece, which Chung then sculpts into compositions that are spacious and elegant, yet incredibly strong. The fibers must be agitated for hours to fuse together, but Chung utilizes the process to dialogue with the material and grapple with deeper issues. “The holes, layers and free mounting of my work represent these conversations, the whispers and the breath between them.”
The artworks often verge into the sculptural, whether through paper threads and dimensional aspects that pronounce off the surface, or by showcasing the artwork in space to expose subtle layers of shadow and depth. “When the breeze comes in and the person walks by it gently moves like it is breathing in the space and with the viewer... I regard this interaction as a dialogue between moving and stillness”, says Chung.
Jiyoung Chung received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows throughout the U.S., Korea, China, Canada, Australia, and Europe, including the Museum of Craft & Folk Art in San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Shows, International Asian Art Fair in New York, Smithsonian Craft Shows and SOFA/NY. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art & Design, NY; Fidelity Corporate Art Collection, Boston; Cheongju Craft Museum, Korea; and Korea Traditional Flower Art Research Center, Daegu University, Korea.
Chung has been introducing joomchi to a new generation of artists through teaching and guest lectureship at venues including the Rhode Island School of Design, Split Rock at University of Minnesota, Penland School of Craft, the International Surface Design Conference, Geelong Textile Forum in Australia, Zijdelings in Tilburg, Netherlands, the Hansung University in Seoul, Korea, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, and Arrowmont School of Craft.