A View of the Korean Mountains

Wook-Kyung Choi's late landscape

This painting was completed in 1981 only four years prior to the artist’s tragic death. During this time, Wook-Kyung was living full time in Korea after a long period (since the early 1960s) spent either living in the United States or traveling between the US and Korea. Although she was only in her early forties at this time, she had developed a highly distinctive and instantly recognizable style of abstract expressionism, which was all her own. One frequent theme during this period of her work was abstract representations of mountains and islands, characteristic of the Korean landscape. According to a catalog from the recent retrospective exhibit "Wook-Kyung Choi, Alice's Cat" held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea (Jeon Yushin, Curator), her paintings during this period were particularly inspired by the mountains in and around Gyeongsang-do province in the southern part of South Korea. This is especially poignant given her deep family roots here—this region is the ancestral home of the Choi clan, in a recorded line of descent that stretches back to the 9th century.

What I try to accomplish in my paintings is not something explanatory or narrative, nor is it symbolic in meaning. It is about expressing sensibility itself into visual terms. It is like the complete abstract quality of music, which would give me the freedom to fly like a bird.

Wook-kyung Choi