In Dialog with Yun Gee Park and Scott Duerstock

Yun Gee Park Gallery, in Tucson, AZ, marries the distinctive qualities of the Sonoran Desert with a Korean strategy that emphasizes the methods artwork can improve and elevate an individual’s life and actions. The humanities-centered vacation spot features a gallery and gardens complicated. A go to there’ll stimulate all 5 senses. Scott and Yun speak about their curatorial strategy, a few of the artists they signify, and exhibitions they’ve organized.

(Left) Scott Duerstock and (proper) Yun Gee Park inside their gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Chava Krivchenia: Your workforce consists of Yun Gee Park and Scott Duerstock. Inform us about your background earlier than opening the gallery. How did you come to artwork jewellery?

Yun: We met about 35 years in the past in Chicago whereas we each labored at artwork galleries there. That point fashioned the bottom of our enterprise data of the artwork world. I had simply completed my BFA at RISD. Scott had simply completed his bachelor’s diploma at Purdue in promoting/PR/visible arts. I used to be helping with exhibition curation and consumer care. Scott, not surprisingly, dealt with promoting/PR, images, and occasions administration tasks. Immediately, in our gallery, that’s nonetheless loosely how we break up our major duties, although we work as a workforce on virtually each facet of the gallery enterprise.

Scott: After Chicago, Yun and I attended graduate faculty (Yun for artwork, and me for cultural anthropology). We married and began elevating our kids. My first job after graduate faculty took us to South Korea. I taught and likewise labored as an administrator for a college in Seoul. It was there that I had my first actual publicity to artwork jewellery, past Yun’s private assortment, primarily via the Noh sisters and their Gallery Ahwon. The concept of making artistic endeavors which are transportable, think about the atmosphere of the physique, will not be solely nonetheless but additionally in movement, whereas additionally conveying the artist’s idea remained fascinating to me at the same time as I pursued my decades-long profession in instructional administration. Once we determined to open our personal gallery, the artists we first invited to affix us had been virtually completely on the planet of artwork jewellery.

Work by Eunmi Chun on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: My fascination with jewellery and wearable artwork began at a really younger age rising up in Korea. My mom all the time had a group of superb jewellery. Her jewellery performed a vital function for me due to the tales she shared with me rising up. She was from the North. When the warfare broke out, she and her household barely made it to the South alive.

At the moment valuable metals and stones had been the forex that they had been in a position to carry with them. They needed to depart their residence, land, and property behind, however jewellery saved their lives. A lot was their mom’s jewellery, however historically Korean youngsters are often given gold rings and such once they flip 100 days previous. The entire youngsters may assist by carrying small quantities of bijou hidden of their clothes. This gave a small measure of safety in the event that they by some means acquired separated from the household. Alongside the best way this jewellery saved the household alive. Once they lastly reached the South, it helped them set up a brand new life.

My mom by no means misplaced that lesson. When she started earning money, she began constructing her assortment. My mom is sort of stunning and trendy, with a unbelievable style for selecting and commissioning jewellery designs. Behind her thoughts, although, the worth of the supplies was all the time a consideration.

I, alternatively, had very totally different tastes in design and accumulating! Once I went off to RISD to review, I began accumulating items that I discovered compelling. The perceived worth of the supplies wasn’t as necessary to me as had been the idea and design. At first my mom thought my decisions had been considerably peculiar and immature. However as she grew older, her appreciation and respect for artwork jewellery grew. Conversely, so did my appreciation and respect for superb jewellery design, particularly with respect to up to date superb jewellery design and unconventional makes use of of conventional supplies. That’s the reason at our gallery we exhibit and promote artwork jewellery/wearable sculpture and up to date superb jewellery.

Work by Yong Joo Kim on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy of Yun Gee Park Gallery

Scott: In a manner, Korea was an incubator for each of us for artwork jewellery. Maybe that’s why we’ve all the time been so drawn to the works of Korean artwork jewelers. We’re so fortunate to signify so lots of them who’re a few of the most admired within the style of artwork jewellery.

 Inform us about the best way you strategy curation as interesting to all of the senses, with a philosophy that focuses on synthesizing atmosphere, physique, and motion.

Scott: Once we determined to open our personal gallery, we wished to create one thing totally different—an arts-centered vacation spot that absolutely embraced the distinctive qualities of the Tucson area, however that was additionally worldwide in scope. This fashion, each guests to the area in addition to Arizona residents may draw enjoyment and inspiration.

The gazebo at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy of Yun Gee Park Gallery

So we created a gallery and gardens complicated. On the grounds are the Korean-Sonoran backyard, with a gazebo and koi pond; the Mexican-Sonoran meditation backyard, known as the Jardin de los Santos, with its grotto; and the gallery backyard, which is a recent Sonoran-themed backyard with a sculpture backyard adjoining. Interspersed are a number of pavilions, outside sculptures, artwork installations, and even a viewing tower for gazing down on the sculpture backyard and out on the mountains. We now have plans to create a number of extra personal gathering areas across the grounds, and to transform the aviary into a bigger group gathering space, too.

Inside view of Yun Gee Park Gallery, foreground work by Eunmi Chun, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: Fairly than an enormous, white field house showcasing artwork faraway from atmosphere, we wished to create an atmosphere that showcases dwelling with artwork. We wished to emphasise how artwork can elevate one’s life and actions. This idea could be very Korean and really Zen. Significance is given to the second and to experiencing the second to the fullest. A tea ceremony is an efficient instance. Whereas sharing tea served in paper cups might be joyful and may nicely be the only option for a sure scenario, generally, well-considered decisions of vessels and utensils and their association can considerably elevate the expertise and even impart additional which means to the ritual. The identical is true for serving a meal, arranging a dwelling atmosphere, or assembling oneself for the day.

Scott: That’s why we current artwork in classes of curation: curation of physique, curation of atmosphere, and curation of motion. We need to encourage our patrons to boost all elements of their lives as a way to meaningfully elevate their environments and actions to the extent of artwork, and to create a significant human-to-human connection between themselves and the artists.

Work by Leslie Wardlaw, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: Additionally, a part of appreciating the second completely is being conscious of the entire senses. That’s why we try to make every go to to the gallery a five-senses expertise by doing things like burning Korean incense contained in the gallery within the morning and serving tea and Korean snacks. Sound is ever-changing from the birds within the gardens and the laughter and dialog. And the paintings and the settings we create for them present fixed stimulation for the sight and contact.

Scott: To maintain the expertise contemporary, each for ourselves and our guests, we continually attempt to reimagine the gallery and the style of presentation of the artworks. We deal with everything of the galleries and gardens as kind of a three-dimensional, five-senses design “journal,” the aim of which is to stimulate the senses. That is in diametrical opposition to the overly pervasive digital-based experiences that are likely to dominate our present age.

Exhibition view, A Lovely No, Cindy Sumner, within the Closet of Curiosities at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

The gallery accommodates an experimental cupboard of curiosities. Inform us about it. How did you give you the concept? What do you present in it?

Scott: Since we’re a recent gallery, we need to permit our artists to discover and increase their ideas in a large number of how. The Closet of Curiosities offers an fascinating setting to discover set up. The closet is hidden behind a full-length mirror seen as one enters the gallery from the backyard. In “regular” [nonpandemic] years, we often host installations by two artists every year.

Yun: It’s a outlined house when it comes to measurement, which forces the artist to create the work inside the parameters of that house. These limitations, nevertheless, create infinite prospects for novel options in expressing their ideas.

Exhibition view, A Lovely No, Cindy Sumner, within the Closet of Curiosities at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Scott: Artwork jewelers have completed a very good job of coping with these parameters of house. They’re adept at creating works that think about the panorama of the human type, and I believe that talent interprets to different bodily settings as they create conceptual environments for his or her items within the closet.

Work by Yves Amu Klein on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

You’re significantly enthusiastic about representing the jewellery artist Yves Amu Klein. Inform us extra about him and his work. And inform us about different jewellery artists who’re unique to your gallery, amongst them Leslie Wardlaw and Cindy Sumner.

 Yun: The three artists you talked about all occur to be Arizona-based. Within the case of Yves, he splits his time between Arizona and France. All three are dedicated to increasing the vocabulary of artwork jewellery by exploring new supplies and varieties, however they got here to artwork jewellery from totally different beginning factors and thru distinctive paths.

Scott: Yves Amu got here to the sector from earlier explorations in sculpture. He grew up in a household of artists. His mom, Rotraut, and his uncle, Gunther Uecker, had been each sculptors. His father was the French artist Yves Klein. His earlier pursuits, nevertheless, had been in time- and motion-based sculpture, and the technical expertise he gained from these works influences his jewellery design and creation.

Yun Gee Park wears work by Yves Amu Klein, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yves creates his works primarily via 3-D printing utilizing instruments that he builds himself. The artist Jim Dine believes that instruments present a hyperlink with our previous, the human previous, and the hand. Yves’s instruments are extra an extension of the thoughts and future, the place the hand of the artist to the paintings is subordinate to the creativeness. Yves’s varieties usually appear to allude to 16th-century European ruffles, however with clear, up to date traces. Its shade palette, usually translucent neon, comes from his materials alternative of PLA fibers. He usually additionally creates items manufactured from hyperlinks of laser-cut wooden items built-in into polymers in such a way that the man-made and pure turn into equally and mutually depending on one another for the design and construction of the piece.

Work by Cindy Sumner, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Cindy Sumner, in distinction, comes from a proper goldsmithing and humanities background. She deftly combines them each, creating stunningly stunning varieties from her ongoing explorations of nontraditional supplies. Fairly notable is her Dissections sequence. In it, ceramic Hummel and Valuable Moments collectible figurines are slabbed into cross part, changing into the framework for items that yield unpredictable natural varieties suggestive of each bone and cell. An exquisite playfulness pervades her work. On this sequence, the perimeters generally reveal the unique figurine type via a sliver of a hand or face—a nod to the guardian materials and the physique it adorns.

Work by Leslie Wardlaw on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Leslie Wardlaw focuses her work in artwork jewellery virtually completely on earrings. By this kind and a wide range of pure and man-made supplies, she explores wide-ranging ideas and private experiences reminiscent of safety, unconventional magnificence, the atmosphere of the West, and even Japanese pearl divers. Her work seeks to broaden the normal notion of the earring as a predictable and uniform adornment. Her earrings are often daring and visually beautiful. But she has a deep understanding of her medium and the wearer, which makes her items easy to put on.

Work by Leslie Wardlaw on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

You’ve got exhibited in Korea and Germany. Please inform us about that.

Scott: The pandemic has modified a lot about how individuals journey and reside in our space of the nation. However traditionally Tucson has a major inhabitants of residents who arrive within the fall from different areas of the nation to keep away from the colder winters elsewhere, and who depart within the spring earlier than the new summers right here within the Southwest start.

After the ultimate seasonal residents depart within the spring, the artwork scene slows down considerably. So we then often journey and conduct exhibits with our associates at “sister galleries.” It takes a number of planning and has logistical challenges, nevertheless it’s fully definitely worth the effort. We’re in a position to spend time with superb gallerists whereas additionally exposing our artists to new audiences. It additionally maybe permits those that comply with our artists digitally to really expertise their work in-person. Social media is nice, however nothing compares to seeing an exquisite piece of labor up shut and admiring the talent and expertise of the artists firsthand.

Work by Eunmi Chun on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: Past dynamic design and fascinating idea, an intense consideration to method is without doubt one of the most necessary elements we search for when inviting an artist to affix our gallery. I actually admire and am in awe of the extent of craftspersonship of the artists in our gallery. For me rising up in Korea, this consideration to method is of paramount significance. In Korea some craftspeople and artists are designated as nationwide treasures due to the main focus, expertise, and talent that they’ve of their chosen discipline. Truly, generally it appears that evidently the data of strategies and supplies runs so deep that it seems they might have discovered it whereas nonetheless within the womb!

Once we journey and do exhibits overseas, we additionally get to satisfy new artists and go to their studios to see their work firsthand. It’s a superb alternative to see if their work is as much as our expectations and likewise to see if our personalities are suited to working collectively.

Scott: The pandemic has, after all, affected our potential to exhibit overseas. Earlier than the pandemic we had been invited to current one other exhibition in Seoul, nevertheless it has sadly been postponed twice. We sit up for getting the possibility to current overseas once more.

Work by Yves Amu Klein on show at Yun Gee Park Gallery, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

You’ve organized some jewellery exhibitions with fascinating, bold ideas. Please describe Completely different Tastes.

Yun: This was one of many extra memorable exhibits that we placed on exterior of our gallery. We exhibited it in Seoul and Busan in 2016. It launched artwork jewellery by artists from america and Europe who had not exhibited earlier than in Korea. They had been unknown to the general public who attended the exhibition.

The title and theme of the present had been meant to keep away from a valuative judgement of the items compared to the supplies and designs of the jewellery supplied there at the moment. We wished to convey an thought of open exploration of the differing aesthetics of the items we had been exhibiting. To do this, we determined to supply the items for viewing upon dishes, as if being ready for a feast. Another excuse we selected this theme is Korea was experiencing considerably of a renaissance of fusion delicacies. Meals has all the time been an necessary a part of the cultural identification of the nation. Many younger Korean cooks had been returning residence from all components of the world. They had been combining recipes and flavors discovered overseas with conventional flavors and dishes from Korea.

Ample journal articles and tv exhibits featured new dishes and totally different dishes, and Koreans had been keen and able to attempt them. Whereas we weren’t providing a fusion of Korean and European design, we had been providing new supplies and new methods to consider jewellery. Most of the items had been displayed on uncooked meats and greens. Whereas stunning, it was meant to convey the concept that it was as much as the viewer to finish the dishes. How would they put together the items in their very own model? May they take this totally different taste of supplies and design and by some means make it their very own?

Making ready the Gallery Ahwon house for the Completely different Tastes exhibition, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Scott: In Seoul, the present was hosted by Gallery Ahwon. The house was ideally suited for the idea, however many preparations had been wanted to make it so. To start, we painted the perimeter partitions of the exhibition like a meat locker. We added a butcher character on the entrance welcoming viewers to affix the feast preparation in course of. Jewellery was held on the partitions on painted photographs of hanging beef, sausages, and hams. In the midst of the exhibition, viewers had been guided round pedestals with plates of uncooked greens and meats atop. It was fairly the journey gathering the entire supplies, like a pig’s leg, and a cow’s coronary heart, liver, and kidney. There was a little bit of logistics concerned because it was a two-week particular rush order to get these components. There was additionally some query whether or not it may even be completed the best way we requested, as a result of we wished them ready in ways in which weren’t as market-ready as standard. All of it labored out, and we’ve the photographs to show it!

Exhibition view, Completely different Tastes, Gallery Ahwon, Seoul, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: Onions had been interspersed all through the exhibition, to not scare off vampires, as one viewer jokingly requested, however to represent the concept that new recipes may come from shared components. Simply as onions function a base ingredient within the recipes of many cultures, so it’s with silver, gold, and gems, which function the bottom “ingredient” of bijou designs in lots of cultural traditions.

Exhibition view, Completely different Tastes, Gallery Ahwon, Seoul, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Scott: Within the background, on the wall behind the desserts desk the place jewellery items had been place atop pastries and muffins, we ran a video loop of works by the artists within the present worn by fashions and fashions on the runway.

Exhibition view of the desserts desk, Completely different Tastes, Gallery Ahwon, Seoul, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: The exhibition modified barely every day. It was the center of July in Seoul. This can be a extremely popular and humid time simply earlier than the annual monsoon rains. The air-con struggled to maintain up. Due to this, and the truth that the present ran 8–10 hours a day, by the third day or so we determined to take away most of the uncooked parts. Because the present continued, many of the items had been merely displayed on plates. My onions, nevertheless, stayed till the very finish!

The present was so successful. It was attended by so many individuals that it was prolonged for 3 days previous the deadline. A number of the attendees had been guests to Seoul from Busan, the second-largest metropolis in Korea. As information unfold there in regards to the present, one other gallery, Merciel Bis, invited us to current the present there, too.

Exhibition view, Completely different Tastes, at Merciel Bis, in Busan, Korea, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Scott: The primary parts of the exhibition stayed the identical for every incarnation, however assorted barely based mostly on the placement and bodily construction of the gallery. As an illustration, in Busan, which is on the coast, we used seafood fairly than beef and pork. This appeared extra acceptable to the components we felt had been elementary to recipes in that area of the nation.

Exhibition view, Completely different Tastes, Gallery Ahwon, Seoul, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Additionally, the exhibition was break up into two adjoining galleries, so we determined to make use of a smaller adjoining gallery because the “desserts” desk, and likewise to include a few of the artwork jewellery into superb artwork items that had been already on show after we arrived. That, nevertheless, is without doubt one of the hallmarks of our philosophy on artwork and curation. At our gallery we see no dissonance in exhibiting what many think about superb or excessive artwork with that which some may think about useful artwork or excessive craft. For us it a false distinction generally. When one considers the inspiration and idea of a chunk by Eunmi Chun or Hee Joo Kim, as an illustration, the moniker of wearable sculpture appears greater than apt.

Yun: We sit up for persevering with to current exhibitions like this and even past, and maybe to as soon as once more current Completely different Tastes in a unique a part of the world.

Gem Present Lounge, held at Yun Gee Park Gallery in 2018, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Tucson’s gem present could be very well-known and nicely attended. Do you take part in it in any respect, maybe on the periphery?

Scott: We really feel very lucky to be positioned in Tucson with these exhibits on the town twice a yr. The primary present, after all, is in late January/early February. It’s actually the place to see a few of the finest on the planet that the gem and lapidary neighborhood has to supply. We don’t take part in any of the exhibits as a gallery, however they do afford us the possibility to see a few of our artists, who come into city to seek out supplies for his or her works, and to meet up with different associates within the jewellery enterprise from world wide.

Yun Gee Park and German gallerist and grasp goldsmith Hilde Leiss on the Gem Present Lounge occasion held at Yun Gee Park Gallery in 2018, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

Yun: Within the years previous to COVID-19 we used to host a “Gem Present Lounge” occasion on the gallery, that includes one up to date superb jewellery artist every year. We even held a style present one yr. Despite the fact that the present is in February, Tucson has very mild winters. This lets artists and sellers from world wide come after the exhibits shut for the day to expertise the works of all our artists whereas additionally having fun with a drink and meals in our gallery’s gardens. Maybe we are going to re-initiate that in coming years.

(Left) Yun Gee Park and (proper) Scott Duerstock, picture courtesy Yun Gee Park Gallery

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