Critics’ Picks

MeeNa Park, noncccss, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 62".

MeeNa Park, noncccss, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 62".


MeeNa Park

Kukje Gallery
54 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
March 3–April 4, 2010

“BCGKMRY,” MeeNa Park’s debut solo exhibition at this gallery, indexes the artist’s resolve to establish her own, nonarbitrary visual order. Consistent with her ongoing engagement of a playful, rule-bending encryption of colors and symbols, the title of the show is an alphabetized anagram of the four subtractive primary colors in commercial printing (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black) and their secondaries (blue, green, and red). Here, and throughout the exhibition, Park follows her favored paradigm of laying bare the familiar to show its unreliability, then restructuring it into her own aesthetic code.

The exhibition opens with a dramatic group of six black paintings, which are Park’s contribution to the discourse of the monochrome: BK0, 2009, and BK1BK5, 2010. In the latter group, the artist explores the differences among ostensibly similar pigments of major paint manufacturers by stenciling eleven varying sizes of blue, green, red, and yellow circles that add up to five clearly dissimilar blacks.

Next up are the so-called “Dingbat” paintings. These visualizations of dingbat symbols encode various combinations of letters, numerals, and punctuations, and create a signature universe that, while based on ready-made units, is thoroughly idiosyncratic. Park does not want to follow any given route, instead obsessively mapping out her own: The final segment of the show is an installation of two hundred chronologically and alphabetically ordered drawings, all set into children’s workbooks, all disobeying the prescribed directions. Like her dingbat paintings, these outwardly simplistic pictures are, in fact, furtively sophisticated probes into what constitutes imagemaking.