In the 1990’s, Ha Dong Chul (1946-2006), a leading Korean abstract artist, sought to represent the essential nature of creation through an examination of “light.” The resulting series of paintings bear his trademark synthesis of Western Modernism and native Korean technique. Ha used the “plucked ink line,” the age-old tool of the Korean carpenter and stonemason, to mark his canvasses with diagonal stripes. His bold, primary colors come directly from the obangsaek, the spectrum of red, blue, yellow, white, and black used to represent the cardinal directions in Korean tradition.
A painter, print-maker, and educator, Ha Dong Chul received the 1974 Prize at the Korean National Art Exhibition and a 1977 Fulbright Scholarship to the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He served as Chairman of the Korean Contemporary Print Association from 1990 to 1991 and Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University from 2000 after teaching there for over two decades. His work is in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea, the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Japan, the Cincinnati Museum of Art, and the British Museum.
Ha’s daughter, Ha Won, uses projections and reflections of light to compare subjective and objective reality. Her installation, “A Drop of Sky,” invites viewers to an “experience of space” and, through video, adds the element of time. Ms. Ha is a professor at Ulsan University, and her works are in the permanent collections of the Gwangju Museum of Art, the Honolulu Academy of Art, and the British Museum.