God, men and fate are the themes, which many philosophers and literary persons have been seeking in depth. They are also the themes of formative arts cognized by many painters in modern fine art. Rhee Jeong-yoen is an influential artist in Korean painting who has been pursuing such themes for a long time.
Therefore, her languages have strong ego. They are abstract but forms in 4D are uprising in her works. Her figure paintings, water and ink painting with sentential force and recent works, which went through semi-representation and finished with lacquer varnishing and nacre, have deep significance like the sentences in philosophy.
Her languages are not light talk like a sketch of life. They are profound languages like a reverential solicitation or silence of earnest wish. Those languages combine with her intelligent rationality and the sensitivity of childlike innocence on the canvas.
Rhee Jeong-yoen has not lived with indifference on the world. She has lived sixty years without losing the pure mind of a child. Such image of her is exactly projected in her works.
In fact, Rhee Jeong-yoen has excellent dessin capability. She has so great descriptive power that I always suggested her working on lyrical representation. Still, she followed the road of abstract painting and has been immersed in it with deep significance. I think she finds more sense of achievement and more interest in seeking the deep language on life than in enjoying the fun as a successful painter.
Perhaps the past wanderings and agonies in the big road of Rhee Jeong-yoen’s life led her to the road of contemplation and concept. It seems that she is immersed in the heavy themes on the providence of men and god, instead of trifling or superficial themes. Naturally, her screen becomes heavy and deeper. It requires long time to read her pure and essential languages.
Though there are many roads in life, Rhee Jeong-yoen knows only one road. Integrity and sincerity are the emblems in her life and they are permeated into her works. Therefore, there is no lightness in her works. Even her lyricism and melancholy are heavy and loneliness does not pass lightly.
At present, many works are made of light fun, sensitivity of a popular song or sparkling wit. Such things dazzle our eyes momentarily and people like those. However, such works do not last long like the lyric of a popular song, which is forgotten after a short while.
The formative art of Rhee Jeong-yoen stands on the opposite point. Her work makes us take a stroll in the forest of Oriental philosophy. We meet the deep contemplation of Zhuangzi or Laozi in her work. This is the decisive reason why all her works are masterpieces. Of course, a heavy theme does not always make a masterpiece. It is important how the theme has been clearly interpreted and completed. And Rhee Jeong-yoen gives a clear answer to it.
Rhee Jeong-yoen became a more devoted Christian and her deep faith must have had big impact on her works. The biblical concept must have become the bone and flesh of her formative art. The piety radiating from the whole canvas must be the result of it. There cannot be a technique in faith; however, her formative art is quite technical. It means that she has such excellent capability in the assembly of languages.
Rhee Jeong-yoen’s work is unique in Korean fine art with its unrivaled creativity. It comes from her high intelligence and deep sensitivity. This is also why she is always quoted as a great artist.