Acrylic on canvas, 75 x 75 inches, 2017
By Chunbum Park
I remember as a child seeing the Greek statue of Aphrodite and being very intrigued and attracted by it. It was ideal and beautiful and unlike anything human that I experienced in the world. My art is about the ideals of beauty which is governed by universal laws. I contend that beauty that is ideal is a form of beauty that is universally perceived and understood. It is precisely because the form is ideal and cannot deviate from what it is that is ideal that the ideal beauty is perceived and recognized universally within a common shared experience for us observers. My art is embedded in the materialism and youthful energy that can be found in any young aspiring person. It is not for the Buddhists or the ascetics. With making art there are fewer right and many more wrong ways to put together the colors and forms. This is because in an entropic universe, where time flows in only one direction from the big bang, things tend to become less orderly over time, and orderly systems such as art and living systems require a complex and hierarchical composition that is almost impossible to produce with natural forces absent biochemistry. There needs to be a determined intent by a conscious being in order to redirect the forces and energy to create something that makes sense or is ideal. I contend that the ideal exists for any given form or situation, and the observer can perceive it in the natural world and the inner world of the mind. Even though not everything and not everyone in the world are ideally shaped, I am primarily concerned with the ideal like the Greeks because it is the guiding light that gives a sense of direction and orientation in a seemingly orientation-less and confusing universe. By method of association it can be suggested that it is order and reason that go with the ideal more so than chaos because to give birth to the ideal one requires a degree of control against chaos that tends to disintegrate rather than build up form. The conception of ideal beauty is an instinctual and an innate process. Using harmony as an instinctive guide, the artist creates a portrait or a figure with dynamic form, pose and expression. The point of ideal beauty is not a predatory form of objectification but an objectifying process that is benign because it is done with a spirit of celebration and awe. On the contrary to the feminist criticisms of my work, I believe that idealized images of women who have immense power through their beauty constitute the tip of the spear against male aggression. Even before I create the artwork, ideal beauty already exists in the realm of the unborn like an abstract idea or a thought in the potential of what does not exist yet or has happened yet, no matter how women are oppressed or objectified within a male-dominated society. In other words, I contend that my art is separate phenomenon arising from pure thought and appreciation for beauty – separate from the oppression of women that happens in today’s world. I contend that the women that I depict with ideal beauty have immense strength through their beauty that no man can challenge physically, psychologically or intellectually. Representation of ideal beauty is akin to the depiction of a goddess who is unreachable to men and cannot be corrupted by aggressive male fantasy of subjugating women and habitual objectification. Mostly I am not interested in depicting people who exist in the real world in a realistic manner, and often my depictions of women are constructed via imaginative processes. Because many of my paintings result from imaginative processes via method of construction, they must aim towards the ideal guided by my instinct of what is beautiful. It is my obsession to fully explore all possibilities of ideal beauty, each result and iteration different from the next. Together they represent the solution to the equations that govern ideal beauty. My art is a statement that the universe and the people who reside in it are beautiful, or should be beautiful. It is a mindful statement of how things should be, and how I strongly insist that the people and the world must be beautiful and ideal. Beauty is innately peaceful and violent at the same time. It is something that attracts me naturally without having to fight me over, yet the image of a goddess is also crushing to the ego of average women who do not share such beautiful characteristics. The same can be said of male superheroes with immense power and flawless image – they crush the ego of the average men. I am not trying to stomp down on anyone because of their looks. I am simply attracted to the idealized beauty that is formulated from the laws of beauty of the universe. Beautiful people, creatures, and things are evidence that the universe that we reside in is beautiful.