Retrospective Exhibition of the Art of Su Kwak Makes West Coast Debut at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

“Light Journey: An Odyssey in Paint” is on view May 28 – July 28, 2013


EUGENE, Ore. -- (May 6, 2013) – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon presents the West Coast premiere of “Light Journey: An Odyssey in Paint,” a retrospective exhibition of the art of Su Kwak. Organized by the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University and curated by Dr. Jungsil Lee, “Light Journey” is on view May 28-July 28, 2013 in the JSMA’s Focus Gallery.


The exhibition opens with a free, public reception on Friday, May 31, 6-8 p.m. Kwak will lead an artist’s talk on Saturday, June 1, at 2 p.m.


The exhibition brings together 31 pieces of work that affirm the artist’s distinctive use of light and color to capture her spiritual life. Her sculptural canvases visually equate the light that gives definition to objects with an inner light that gives purpose and meaning.


“Viewers find that they can feel Kwak’s paintings as much as see them with their eyes; surfaces appeal to the sense of touch with their folds, tears, gestures, and textures,” says Gregg Hertzlieb, Brauer Museum of Art director and exhibition curator, in the foreword of the exhibition catalog. “Acrylic paint enhances and encases areas in her pieces, acknowledging the artifice of art but also transforming what we know into something entirely new that engages us with its inventiveness.”


Part of the exhibition includes the series “Beyond Light,” a series of fourteen works that correspond to the “14 Stations of the Cross,” the commemoration of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. Kwak created abstract images of each station using acrylic paint on plaster and paper. Combining paint and paper, sometimes incorporating Bible pages into the work, Kwak uses different overlapping shapes to create a highly sculptural painting. The installation is meant to be viewed from the right to the left, analogous to writing Hebrew.  In addition to their Christian connections, Kwak’s work also references spirituality, East and West, in a more general sense.


Born in Busan, a port city on the Southeastern tip of Korea, Su Kwak grew up near the seashore and the mountains of her native country. She moved to the United States in 1973, arriving with just one suitcase of belongings, to pursue her American dream. Settling first in Texas, Kwak became involved in an interdenominational church prior to attending the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she majored in art. In 1979, she completed her MFA with honors at the University of Chicago, where she developed a semi-abstract landscape style.


Kwak is represented by the June Kelly Gallery in SoHo, New York, and the Sun Gallery in Seoul, Korea. Kwak’s paintings may be found in many museum and public collections including the

the prestigious National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art; Asian-American Arts Centre, New York, and the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Korea. In 2002, she published her memoir, “Light in the Heart: Art and Love.”


Su Kwak’s “Light Journey: An Odyssey in Paint” is organized by the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University and curated by Dr. Jungsil Lee. The exhibition is made possible at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art with funding from The Farwest Steel Korean Art Endowment.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,