The artist Sunyoung Kwon
498 1/2 West Main Street
Rochester, New York
At the Joy Gallery, in the heart of Rochester, New York, there is a new presentation by artist Sunyoung Kwon who studied as a grad student at Rochester Institute of Technology over twenty years ago. Sunyoung recently came back to RIT to give Luvon Sheppard's class some tips on watercolor painting and life lessons as an artist. She keeps her artwork on a small scale, perhaps to make it more portable, and she often paints these small portraits of people she knows and along with the brushwork she adds a little sentence or at most a paragraph about the person she portrays.
Ms. Kwon's portraits at Joy Gallery
Sunyoung told me that she now has hundreds of these miniature portraits and this is the first time I have seen this portion of her collection. She concentrates on the face, often giving her subject some emotional sensibility that you can feel in the painting to which she adds her writing which is often matter-of-fact. She has painted her friends and mentors and I found a portrait of Luvon, and then one of David Dickinson who was the one who originally hired me to teach at RIT. There was even a little portrait of me in this show, and then Sunyoung came over to show me the reference photo she had taken of me when I was younger and I was still wearing the same winter coat that I had on then, when that photo was made so long ago!
Sunyoung Kwon watercolor portraits
This is the kind of exhibition where you can spend a fair amount of time looking and reading the stories. All of the paintings are presented flat - on a table for you to see up close, and up a few stairs on the next level at the gallery there is a video presentation that gives you a stop-action story of her technique. You can watch her painting quickly develop, and this answers in part that question that comes along with her art - How did she do it?
Before the evening was over I wandered back over to the Axom Gallery to see their new show, which features many paintings by the artist Lin Price. The art is bold, even though the size is modest. Maybe the largest painting is set above the couch in the main room ( it features some big steamer boats perhaps on one of the Great Lakes).
The artist Lin Price at Axom Gallery
Rochester, New York
Talking with the artist she made a remark about the pacing of the show and pointed to a series of smaller works that alternate between a direct sort of realism and a more poetic approach to representations. The people that you find in her paintings are often surrounded by wide open spaces suffused with color and texture. She speaks of the memories she had painting some of these scenes which often portray experiences that can be thought of as very symbolic like the painting below - which she calls " River". A person bends over on a little driveway in the middle of a hot orange sea of color to look in a little mailbox- there on a post. It could be a dream, as their horse runs away...
Lin Price " River" at Axom Gallery
In the artist statement she writes about her paintings which represent fleeting moments of contemplation. Themes that rise from her paintings are experiences of desire, regret and joy...
I think when you see them you will have your own ideas, some may be funny, while some paintings are puzzles for you to try and figure out.
Lin Price at Axom Gallery