Sensational paintings of glass vessels come to life in this dynamic exhibition featuring new works by Korean artist Inkyeong Baek. Demonstrating an uncanny ability to capture her subject-matter, Baek’s enchanting oil paintings glitter with a gemstone-like quality that truly captivates. The material characteristics of glass are fickle, often visually elusive. Yet each work on display beautifully illustrates, in stunning, hyper-realistic detail, an array of objects, from champagne flutes to whisky tumblers.
Take the large-scale painting, Rocks Glasses; here we see an assortment of vessels arranged in a triangle– refracted light dances across the intricate terrain of cut-glass crystal, resulting in an ethereal azure-tinted glow that mesmerizes the viewer. In the work Champagne Glasses, a series of champagne glasses are similarly arranged; the smooth, bowing surface of the vessel distorts as it reflects, creating a visual echo-chamber from the mirrored translucency of the glass.
The artist employs exquisite Trompe-l’œil, adding yet another layer of complexity to the work. Crystal Decanter I & II, for example, appear to pop off the canvas through optical illusion that renders the image, deceptively, as if it existed in three-dimensions, rather than two.
Baek has long been intrigued by notions of delusive representation. Illusion, in its myriad of forms, are the essence of the artist’s oeuvre and it is from this constant-well of inspiration that the works in “Happy Hour” were conceived. For this never-before-seen series, the artist was further galvanized by concepts of psychoanalysis and philosophy. Through the lens of Freud, Foucault and Winnicott, among others, Baek presents the glass vessel as a metaphor for personified identity. Consider the inherent conflict between the true-self and the idealized or false-self: this enduring struggle between how we feel on the inside, as opposed to how we present ourselves to the world, closely resembles the distorted reflections generated by (and emanating from) the vessels depicted in Baek’s paintings. So often, humans project a deceptive facade, one that appears glittering and full of splendor, when, in fact, our true-self more frequently resembles the inside of these containers: empty and unfulfilled.
Inkyeong Baek currently lives and works in New York City. She was born and raised in Korea, and holds a Bachelor’s in Contemporary Arts from Konkuk University, in Seoul. In 2016, she received a Master’s of Fine Arts (focus: painting) from the prestigious Savannah College of Arts and Design. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad.