Cabinet of Curiosities
As part of the Spring 2022 Korea Remixed festival, "Cabinet of Curiosities" features paintings by Indiana University alumna and adjunct professor of painting, Su A Chae.
My previous involvement in accounting in academia in South Korea allowed me to understand that the role of accounting is to reduce information asymmetry and moral hazards in capitalism. For me painting and accounting share a commonality: both are considered as a language, a tool of communication. Accounting is a language of business that provides information of business to decision-makers in our economic system. Painting is a visual language that presents the opportunity for unique individual expression, reflection, and connection to society. By approaching painting from both perspectives of a meticulous accountant and a self-expressing artist, I investigate the ambivalence associated with identity and asymmetrical balance that creates paradoxical spatial propositions.
I use abstraction or semi-abstraction as a means of extracting my personal perceptions and experiences—often intertwined with socio-political and cultural specifics. The grid, lattice, checkerboards and patterns function as a vehicle for addressing disconnection and separation as well as an underlying structure. The architectural structures, that often resemble fences or gates, speak of a physical, psychological or cultural barrier that I have experienced since I moved to the United States. The motile distorted squares, arch-like shapes, and other idiosyncratic shapes are personified to emphasize the relationship that can be confrontational and tensional but also comforting and harmonious. My visual vocabulary is borrowed from index cards, spreadsheets, digital pixels, and Korean art such as chaekgeori, minwha, and bojagi, that are related to my biographical and cultural identity.
As a Xennial who has had an analog childhood and digital adulthood, I make a painting that looks digital but remains the materiality. My painting, where soft gradational colors are paired with textural surfaces, chases the digital aura. Hoping to open a larger conversation of diversity and coexistence in social context, my paintings allow the rigid structures to be the places of playfulness, hope, and the possibility rather than suppression, anger, and anxiety.
- Su A Chae