Yoona Hur

Yoona Hur is a Korean-born artist currently based in New York.  Although she spent most of her life in the West, Korean heritage and Eastern philosophy became the main source of inspiration for her ceramics and paintings. While anchored in the lineage that came before her, she pushes to evolve her work beyond tradition to reflect her personal spiritual journey as an artist. She explores and uses a variety of materials and techniques in her paintings and her ceramic work.

Her pieces preserve and reinterpret her cultural heritage, encompassing Korean traditions, especially that of Buddhism (Seonbulgyo), Dalhangari (Moon Jars from Joseon dynasty, 1392–1910), and Dansaekhwa (Korean art movement from the 1970s).  The desire to be one with nature and the belief that true freedom lies within one’s own mind formed the foundation of many traditional Korean arts. The iconic Moon Jar represents evolution, acceptance and letting go of the duality – it’s neither perfect or imperfect. It is complete as it is.  The act of making, that is repetitive, quiet and slow is the embodiment of “emptying the mind” so that the artist and the viewer can perceive with clarity.  “I see the final form as a meditative space where one is invited to pause and contemplate.” says Hur.

In the “Seon” painting series, emptiness offers a space where peace and strength arise from the soft and malleable parts of us, says Hur.  The softness is also conveyed through the tactility of Hanji (Korean mulberry paper), that Hur treats as a sculptural material. Hur’s work is a place of rest and awakening of both the familiar and unfamiliar parts of ourselves — leading us to seek the values and truths that matter to each of us.

© Portrait : Amalia de Klemm