Calligraphy and Nuance
11 March 2019
As I am sitting on the Hammersmith and City Line, travelling from Latimer Road back to Bromley-by-Bow, I feel both light and heavy. Light, insofar as this residency has opened up many new and unexpected paths and avenues, which I am very excited to explore further; heavy, in that I am struggling with a heavy bag, full of drawings made from the huge variety of materials made available to me during my studio bursary with New Contemporaries and Elephant Lab run by Colart.
This residency afforded me the opportunity to revisit the calligraphic training I received when I was in my early teens in Seoul, South Korea. This training has always informed the work I have made. However, due to the fact that I have largely used materials associated with Western painting, such as acrylic and oil paint, this has not always been clear to others (or me). The materials made available by Elephant Lab, particularly oil paper and water-mixable oil paint — which is very close to what I used in calligraphy, but still linked to a traditionally Western medium — allowed me to re-encounter and re-engage with this training in a more direct way. In particular, I was interested in exploring how a single brushstroke can register different densities and degrees of force. I did this by using varying ratios of water and water-mixable oil paint. This technique also provided me with a new way to explore an ongoing question in my work of how to visualise nuance. Here by nuance I mean the subtle differences in, or shades of, meaning and expression across different languages and cultures.