|▲ 작업실에서 최명명(CHOI MYOUNG YOUNG)화백 <사진:권동철>|
Finally, there are the artworks from 1997 to the present day. As this is a 20-year time span so far, there are obviously changes, or variations, to some extent.
However, he(Dansaekhwa-Korean monochrome painter CHOI MYOUNG YOUNG, Dansaekhwa:abstract paintings of Korea Artist CHOI MYOUNG YOUNG,최명영 화백,최명영 작가,단색화 최명영,단색화:한국추상회화 화가 최명영,모노크롬회화 최명영,단색화가 최명영,韓国単色画家 崔明永,韓国の単色画家 チェイ·ミョンヨン)basically continues to follow the same path on the ridgeline.
This path is neither flat nor easy to tread. There are downward slopes as well as upward slopes. In terms of production, there are two significant changes from the past. One is the change in “(what appears to be his) brushstroke.” Another is that he changed from using oil paint to acrylic paint. The support base continues to be a canvas, however, he changed his paint to one that is soluble.
The “divisions” as seen in his previous works has changed. Though you could see horizontal and vertical lines on the surface, they are intermittent. In fact, they are not lines but the black layer beneath showing clearly or subtly between the cracks of the white layer on top.
|▲ 평면조건, 2015|
Here, too, the black layer is not painted with a brush but is a hanji steeped into sumi ink (therefore, the pigments used here are sumi ink for the bottom and white acrylic paint for the top layer). This black hanji is fixed to the canvas.
Although it is fixed, one must note that this black hanji is not the support base. Even though the hanji is steeped into ink, for Choi, this is equivalent to “painting” it. He does this in order to make a “painted surface” without any brushstrokes into a pure surface. A plane painted in white overlays this surface.
The top white layer is different from the black layer beneath and even from his past “three years” and is neither even nor flat. However, the impression that one gets from viewing the entire plane is not much different. Compared to his horizontally divided artwork of 1983, in which horizontally long white hanji strips were fixed onto black hanji soaked in sumi ink, this time, vertical elements are added, white acrylic paint is used in place of white hanji, and, instead of cutting and pasting white hanji, he paints the white.
Moreover, if you look closely, you can see the vertical and horizontal brushstrokes. Although the “three-year-period” was an attempt to eliminate all brushstrokes, now he is embracing them. Nonetheless, when viewing from a normal distance, the brushstrokes are not much noticeable.
Instead of being brushstrokes, they appear to be an element that adds “movement” to the plane surface. It is not that his pursuit has waned, but that there is more breadth to his extremity, as it were.
In terms of the black layer underneath, it is not a “base.” For the artist, this together with the top white layer constitutes his “painting.” Many viewers may see it as a return of the “base,” and that is fine, too. What the viewer is seeing is actually the entirety.
By soaking into sumi ink, the bottom layer is made completely pure and extreme and is no longer a “base.” Furthermore, by completely submerging it, it makes possible a plane that is opposite from the one on top, giving the entire plane more depth as well as breadth. In addition, as the bottom later assumes all extremity, the top layer is given freedom.
△Shigeo Chiba(千葉成夫)/art critic