A Korean art tradition comes to Thomas Anthony Gallery on Friday | ParkRecord.com

A Korean art tradition comes to Thomas Anthony Gallery on Friday

Art lovers who embark on this month's Park City Gallery Association gallery stroll on Friday will have the chance to witness Hanji, the ancient practice of Korean paper art, at the Thomas Anthony Gallery.

Husband and wife Jeong Han and Choon Hyang Yun will demonstrate their art from 6-9 p.m. at the gallery, located at 340 Main St. The public will also have the opportunity to meet with the artists at the gallery from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1. Both events are free and open to the public.

The origin of Hanji reaches back nearly 2,000 years, said Greg Bloch, the Yuns' representative.

"It's interesting because Hanji, which is made from the bark of the dac, or mulberry, tree, is something that children learn to do," Bloch said. "The Yuns' tools are simple. They use paper pulp that is ground from the bark, water and screens to press the paper."

They grind the bark by hand, and they create their own non toxic inks that combine organic and inorganic components..." Greg Bloch, the Yuns’ representative

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The Yuns pay farmers in South Korea to keep the dac trees on their farms and harvest the bark each year.

"They grind the bark by hand, and they create their own non toxic inks that combine organic and inorganic components," Bloch said. "The only time they'll use a brush is to sign their names. They will also mark each work with a pigmented thumbprint."

Bloch enjoys watching the artists work together.

"They work intuitively," he said. "One of them may take the lead on one project, and the other will lead another."

The paperworks are more akin to tapestries, according to Bloch.

"What's great about them is that in a gallery or home setting these works interact with the light and absorb it rather than reflect it," he said. "They are meant to be exhibited without glass. So all the collector has to do is dust them off occasionally."

Bloch, an art dealer who has represented the Yuns for more than 20 years, said he first noticed their work while visiting a gallery in Portland, Oregon.

"It hit me in the solar plexus, because it was so beautiful," he said. "While my wife and I didn't understand the medium,l we knew it was beautiful work."

The gallery's owner introduced Bloch to the Yuns, who are originally from Daegu, South Korea.

"I learned that they are two of the most genuine and sweetest people I have ever met," he said.

"The artists attended Keimyung University, a Presbyterian college, and received their masters of fine art degrees in Western art," Bloch said.

"While they became professors of art, they have always been interested historically and culturally in the tradition of Korean paper making," he said.

The couple began making their own paper when their sons came to the United States to attend college.

"Jeong Han and Choon Hyang moved to San Francisco, and Jeong Han took a second masters of fine arts degree in printmaking and became a master printmaker," Bloch said. "After that, they decided they wanted to incorporate the long Korean cultural history in their art, and that they wanted to work together."

Thomas Anthony, owner of the eponymous gallery, said he is looking forward to the demonstration.

"I've never met the Yuns face to face, even though we've been showing their work for a little more than a year," Anthony said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to present this creative process that developed centuries ago and has stood the test of time.

An artist demonstration by Korean paper artists Jeong Han and Choon Hyang Yun will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31. The public will get the chance to meet the artists from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Thomas Anthony Gallery, 340 Main St. Both events are free and open to the public. For information, visit pc.gallery.