Artist Statement -

After coming to this country from Korea in the mid 60's to study art, among the many forms of Western art that I was introduced to, Abstract Expressionism interested me most. Currently I am in the process of synthesizing Eastern and Western approaches to art. Specifically, I'm adopting the techniques and materials of Eastern calligraphy to Western thematic material, my primary goal being to close the gap between East and West and reach for universal creativity.

Eastern calligraphy I learned is a living and breathing spirit, rather than the dead and rigid tradition of thousands of years. It is uniquely a form that conveys the pulsation of life energy. Through it, one can experience all aspects of the living spectrum. Eastern calligraphic form reveals the kind of life the artist has led, as well as foreshadowing the person one will become. It is the art form that manifests the self as a way of life or philosophy of life. It is a powerful art form that operates through direct intuition.

As an artist I rely heavily on creative intuition. Moving with changes in the stream of consciousness, my creative intuition somehow brings out the subconscious and superconscious through artistic expression.

Art to me is an expression of an inner world and inner energies in the giving of Self. The re-creation of the world, it brings invisible and inexpressible dimensions to the surface using elements of design.

In order to accomplish these purposes I find the brushes and papers of Eastern calligraphy most effective. The brushes and rice papers are unforgiving, challenging me to flow with the creative impulse and thereby convey the immediacy, spontaneity and close proximity of an intimate connection with nature.

I put my inner energy into these brush strokes. Hopefully, these intentions are conveyed throughout my work.

Artist Exhibitions

The Centre St. Arts Gallery, Bath, ME, 2020. Lathrop Gallery, Northampton, MA, 2018. Hosmer Gallery, Forbes Library, Northampton, MA, 2018. Art Park Mill 180 Gallery, East Hampton, MA, 2018. Carnegie Library, Conway, MA, 2017. Busan Int. calligraphy, Nov. 2011, 2013, 2015 Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA Sept-Dec. 2013 Carlton Gallery, Banner Elk, NC May-Dec. 2013 Nijiiro Rainbow Connections One Mind One Heart, Naples, Italy, March 2013 Limen arte 2012, Vibo Vantentia, VV, Italy, Nov. 2012 Il ramo Doro Gallery, Naples, Italy april, 2012 2011 Korea Paper Culture Art, Seoul, Korea. Turchin Center, Boone, North Carolina, July-December, 2011. Busan Biennale, Busan, Korea, November, 2011. Library Thoughts, Budapest-2011, Budapest, Hungary. Sweetcake Enso exhibit, San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco, CA, May, 2011. 6 Masters Work, Mulpa Gallery, Jan. 2011, Seoul, Korea. Spirited Calligraphy exhibit in Georgia State U. Atlanta, Georgia, October, 2010 Invitational exhibit with 20 women, Mulpa Gallery, Seoul, Korea, April, July, 2010 Spirit of Contemporary Calligraphy, Seoul Arts Center, June, 2009, Absgraphy Exhibit, Seoul, Korea, May, 2009, Asian Calligraphy Exhibit, Malaysia, May, 2009, 2009 Asociacion Cultural Exposicion Contest, Feb. 2009, Granada, Spain, Ancient Philosophy-Asian Artists, Turchin Center, Boone, North Carolina, August, 2008, Second Int. Seoul Calligraphy Biennale, May, 2008, Asian Womans Calligraphy Exhibit, Geneva, Switzerland, October, 2008.
Beijing International Womens Calligraphy ExhibitGroup, Beijing, China, September, 2006. Mulpa, the New Wave Gallery Seoul, Korea, Group, June, 2006Johnson City Area Arts CouncilSolo Johnson City, TN, 2nd Series of Asian Perspective of Martin Luther King, Jr. March, 2006 Evergreen College Group, Olympia, Washington. December, 2005-February, 2006. Gallery 24Group, Berlin, Germany, September, 2005. Gong-Pyung Art Center, 2005 Seoul International Calligraphy Biennale, Seoul, Korea, July, 2005. Hickory Art MuseumGrouop, Hickory, North Carolina, July, 2005-February, 2006. Vizivarosi GalleryGroup, Budapest, Hungary, June, 2005. Gallery HimawariGroup, Tokyo, Japan, March, 2005. San Francisco Zen CenterSolo,San Francisco,California January, 2005
Johnson City Arts CouncilSolo,Johnson City,Tennessee March, 2004
Francis Marion UniversitySolo,Florence,South Carolina February,2004
San Francisco Zen CenterSolo,San Francisco,California January,2004
AsiaAlive Samsung HallSolo,Asian Art Museum,San Francisco Oct. 2003
Appalachian State UniveristyGroup,Boone, North CArolina May 2003
2003 Summer Universiade International Calligraphy ExhibitGroup, Daegu, Korea. August, 2003
Justice Runs Down Like Water, Asian Perspective of Martin Luther King, Jr.,Solo, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee,NC Jan.2003 Foreign Language Calligraphy ExhibitGroup,Seoul,Korea July 2002...

Artist Publications

Spontaneity and symbolism alive in artist's work by Allison Alfonso
Johnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee March 14, 2004

The title intrigued me, and I went to the Johnson City Area Arts Council to see "Justice Runs Down Like Water -- Asian Perspective of Martin Luther King Jr."

My mind raced. How would an Asian artist interpret the civil rights leader's life? Kichung Lee Lizee's show, on display through April 13, is symbolic.

The artist is a Korean who came to the United States in the 1960's to study art. Her statement says she is synthesizing Eastern and Western approaches in art by combining the techniques and materials of Eastern calligraphy and Western themes. Eastern calligraphy, she said, appeals because it conveys the life force and is created through intuition. The inks, bruishes and rice papers used in calligraphy are challenging and unforgiving. Each brush stroke is done quickly and in one breath. Rarely is a mark gone over twice, and thus the artist says, they reveal the spontaneity of the artistic act and the artist's spirit.

What did I see when I entered the gallery? I saw movement. One series captures the snake like movement of dragons, and another features bamboo blowing in the wind. Another features eyes that also look like winding roads.

Lizee used some of King's words as titles to the series and said she tried to portray the energy of his speeches in her marks while conveying his strengths, wisdom and dreams symbolically.

How distinctively the works are mounted and hung isn't mentioned, but this also provides an East-West link. The paintings are mounted on patterned, scroll-like objects that look like decorative window shades and wallpaper. The strings from which they hang arch to a dome shape. I felt like I was looking at temples.

The series "Justice Runs Down Like Water," done in Chinese ink and watercolor on rice paper, features dragons as a symbol of King's impact on and struggles in society. "Fighting Dragon" combines an abstracted dragon that covers the surface and a blue, watery background. There is an energy to the piece that suggests upheaval and disruption.

The calm in "Peaceful Dragon" is a contrast. The gently swirling lines convey a force in retreat. This is a series of beauty and complexity.

The beautiful series "We Shall Overcome," Chinese ink on rice paper, uses bamboo to represt perseverance, patience and strength: characteristics of those in the Civil Rights movement. The plant, the artist said, survives harsh conditions and doesn't break.

"Integrity" features text and a single bamboo pole that symbolizes conviction and blowing leaves representing societal pressure. "Flexibility" combines text with two thin, wind blown bamboo stocks, which symbolize choice, chance and sensitivity.

In the "I Have a Dream" series, each painting contains a background centered by an eye, all in black, and inserts with faces. The eyes suggest hope, progress, time, travel and ideas.

The girl in "Dream Face," done in Chinese ink and oil on rice paper, is racially indistinct. This perhaps represents the desire for equal treatment and not to be categorized. The character seems gripped in happy thought.

"Noble Korean Lady," of Chinese ink and watercolor on rice paper, features a large eye looking upon an inset landscape scene with a small figure walking feafully toward a large, looming, unidentifiable figure. It suggests coming to terms with the past and facing demons.

Other series exist in this rewarding show. I was initially attracted to the imagery and then began searching for the meanings of the subjects and symbols. The artist supplies plenty of supporting material to help the viewer understand the exhibition. But this time, like all times I look at a show, I left not knowing if I understood everything.

You can't dictate what viewers think and feel when they look at art, and that is part of the richness of it....

Artist Collections

Kye Ryong San Int. Zen Center, Chungnam, Korea. Muse the Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Turchin Center of Fine Arts, Boone, North Carolina.
Seoul Int. Calligraphy Biennale Forum, Seoul, Korea.
Asociation Cultural Exposition, Granada, Spain.
Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
North Carolina Zen Center, Pittsboro, North Carolina
Dragon Flower Ch'an Temple, Pacific, Missouri
WinPaul Gemstones, Butler, Tennessee
Charles Nunn and Associates, Marietta, Georgia
Smoky Mountain Kung Fu, Asheville, North Carolina
Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Southern Dharma Retreat Center, Hot Springs, North Carolina
Foucault Corporation, Waspik, the Netherlands
The Lotus Institute, Asheville, North Carolina
The Great Tree Woman's Retreat Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Mountain Psychological Service, Asheville, North Carolina
Max Electric, Butler, Tennessee...

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