Jongrye Cha (Korea)


Artist’s statement

Jongrye Cha lets her chosen material of wood guide her practice as it takes shape under her hands. Working with it as if it were clay, she layers and meticulously sands hundreds of delicate wood pieces into contours and shapes that seemingly have no beginning or end. The resulting monumental works have a fluidity and energy that symbolize Jongrye Cha's philosophy of landscape, of our individual lives and the world around us. Presenting her sculptures as something living and moving, rather than as complete reality, her work calls on the ideas of creation, infinity, and eternity.

Jongrye Cha's practice is a mastery of precision, detail, and craftsmanship. It is her ability to “talk” to the wood, to challenge and manipulate it with and against its natural grain that allows it to gently receive her movements and thus transform its innate characteristics into eased, tactile sculptures. Her rendering of the wood, the play between layers and tension, and the dance of light and shadow across the surfaces, combine to create a powerful expression of flowing energy and life. Other sculptures feature smooth knobs of various sizes that suggest fantastical lunar landscapes. The focus of her most recent work is creating graceful cones with finely fluted sides. According to the artist, the cone “is the first form to break through the flat surface and, at the same time, the last form that arrives at the sky.” 



Artist’s bio

Jongrye Cha was born in 1968 in Daejeon, Korea, a historic city now known as the Silicon Valley of Korea but whose name translates to “large field,” harking back to its simple organic roots. These roots in the simplicity of nature are the basis of Cha’s work and the use of wood as her chosen medium. Cha completed her undergraduate degree in sculpture at Ewha Womans University in Seoul in 1992 and continued on to receive her MFA there in 1996. 

She has had solo exhibitions at the Nampo Museum of Art, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Sungkok Art Museum. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions including shows at the Berkshire Museum, the In and Out Museum, and the Naro Museum. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Sungkok Art Museum, the Plaza Hotel–Seoul, the Nampo Museum of Art, and the JW Marriott Hotel, China, among others. She currently lives and works in Korea.