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Sungsic Moon is best known for paintings based on his memories, life experiences and everyday scenery, all of which are painted with a preternatural realism and detailed precision. As suggested by the title, Landscape Portrait, Moon’s compositions capture the facial expressions of his subjects’ complicated and often bewildering lives — as if every painting were a psychological topography.

Moon’s works include large-scale paintings in addition to drawings, and unlike the artist’s previous works on canvas, the new works are all on paper. The artist has created a unique method of creating his ground, joining together sheets of paper so that their seams become indistinguishable and the composition appears to have no beginning or end. This technique is best illustrated in Interior of a Forest where the artist has rendered a seemingly endless expanse of trees, where every leaf has been painted with the same devotion and attention to detail. In addition to creating a sublime tableau, the work frames the artist’s interest in Buddhist ideals of introspection and mindfulness. In contrast, the work Texture of the Night seems to have absorbed all of the details visible in Interior of a Forest into darkness. Texture of the Night is drawn from the artist’s experience commuting between his home and studio near Inwang Mountain in Buam-dong where Moon was awed by the light and the contrast between night and day. As dusk fell, the shape of the mountain and all of the events that took place during the daylight seemed to disappear into a weighty darkness. The artist, determined to express the sublimity of this shadow that conceals, rendered the landscape in the darkest possible tones, a process that was achievable only through an intense time consuming and meticulous process. Night marks a shift in Moon’s oeuvre as it employs the artist’s memory as a fundamental point of reference. The mountain landscape is made up of a collection of multiple fragments, presenting seemingly disjointed events – such as the cry of an elk caught in a trap and the sound of broken twigs – in a contiguous composition. More akin to an abstract narrative, Moon is interested in capturing not just his subject, but his personal experiences in the paintings. These phenomenological experiences seem to encounter each other for the first time on the canvas or paper, while at the same time they convey feelings that might be described as inexplicable nostalgia.
Sungsic Moon’s drawings illustrate events that are not readily revealed in his paintings. For example, Stars, a Scope Owl and My Grandmother alludes to but does not visibly illustrate the artist’s experience of his grandmother’s death, the mourning process, and funeral held in Gimcheon, his hometown. In this way, Sungsic Moon’s works are marked by a deep pathos and reveal his concern for the struggle of all living things, and his innovative techniques hide a more classical attitude and approach to rendering idealized emotions.
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