Spirit of Korea

Chairman of Cultural Properties Committee of Korea

Roe Kyung Jo¡ºSpirit of Korea¡»
Tong-in Gallery New York, USA
1 Oct. - 31 Oct. 2003

Embracing the texture, color and flavor of soil in his work, Roe Kyung-jo has served as a professor at the Kookmin University College of Design. Born to a good family, he led a happy life. After studying ceramics at the college and graduate school of art in Korea, he spent two years in Japan, where he was infatuated with the new style of ceramics. At that time with a far-reaching perspective to realize his own distinctive individuality, he focused on studying ceramic art theoretically rather than practicing it. Trying on a variety of ceramics such as white porcelain, ¡°"buncheong¡±" and enamelware ceramics, Roe released a thesis titled ¡°"A Study on Goryeo Inlaid¡ıBlue Celadon¡±". He intermittently made a field trip to Joseon Porcelain kiln sites mainly located in Ichon and Kwangju, Gyeonggi Province to collect a considerable volume of information. He also endeavored to capture the beauty of ¡°"onggi¡±" and woodenware.

All types of ceramics are made of soil whose characteristic remains quite natural. Even if created artificially, ceramic art is a rare genre that carries nature as a whole. In a close-up view, however, the details of unnatural expressions are visible. For instance, glaze which is used to give the surface a shiny look has a practical purpose in ceramic making. It functions in a negative manner, concealing the infinite beauty of soil spring from its texture, color and flavor. His mature ceramics do not stop at merely executing blue celadon, ¡°"buncheong¡±" and overglazed ware. His recent approach to ¡°"yeollimun¡±" ware(marbled ware) tells of his affection to soil. Everything in the universe changes constantly. All things at last turn into soil and are believed to be reincarnated in the forms of the visible or the invisible. Roe¡¯'s color scheme mainly employing brownish tone is closely associated with the colors of soil and the country yard of our hometown. His ¡°"yeollimun¡±" ware is characterized by its strong attachment to the elements of nature. His work evidently has a natural quality in its texture, color and flavor, captivating the viewer with its expression of nostalgia. Roe¡¯'s work, in terms of shape, appears less decorative and more pared-down. He draws the motif of square¡ıshaped case and ¡°"hap¡±"(vessel with a lid) from the Joseon Dynasty¡¯'s refined square bottles between the 18th and 19th centuries. Attractively decorated with simple ears and punctured on the base to let air in, those works essentially resemble the shape of nature without adding any artificial quality. His ¡°"yeollimun¡±" ware has the various color plates that are harmoniously arranged in a different shade of brown and beige. Oblique lines often appeared on the excessively plain and bold surface in his work look like streaks of rain falling on the window. Amid extreme complexity in the real world in which nature is increasingly devastated, Roe¡¯'s work brings nature to our sensibilities. Full of expectation, I will keep my eye on the direction of his art in the future.