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South Korean artist to display sculpture

South Korean artist to display sculpture


There’s a common thread in the work of South Korean artist TeaYoun Kim-Kassor. Literally.

The sculptural objects and two-dimensional artwork by Kim-Kassor pay homage to Korean textile traditions. But the artwork of Kim-Kassor — who was born and raised in Korea through her teenage years before immigrating to America and later studying in Japan — also resonates with modern and contemporary ideas put forth by a variety of international fiber artists and sculptors.  

She has merged these different influences to make statements about identity, migration and personal as well as socio-political tension and gender.

“As an adult, I had the good fortune to be exposed to two other and different cultures, Japanese and American,” said Kim-Kassor, an associate professor of art at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. “The amalgamation of all these cultural shifts has fueled my passion for artistic exploration.”

The artist’s solo exhibition “Beyond Places in Time,” comprised of large-scale drawings, artwork constructed primarily out of textiles and other mixed media materials, opens at SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Gallery on Monday, Oct. 14.

“Beyond Places in Time” will continue until Friday, Dec. 6. Gallery hours are weekdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; with extended hours to 7 p.m. on Thursdays; and by appointment. The gallery is located in the Dowd Fine Arts Center on the corner of Prospect Terrace and Graham Avenue.

An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibition programming also will feature an artist’s talk, documentary screenings, and artist’s workshop and lectures geared to place the artwork in a broader perspective. The opening reception, as well as Dowd Gallery exhibitions and programs, are free and open to the public.

Additional exhibition programs include:

Artist’s talk: Kim-Kassor will discuss her artwork at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 in Dowd Gallery. The talk will focus on the relationship between the materials and specific approaches in her works on display.

Artist’s workshop: Kim-Kassor will lead a workshop on hand-built ceramic objects at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, in Old Main, room G-40. The demonstration in the university’s ceramics studio will immediately follow her artist’s talk. Unlike her artist’s talk, this presentation delves into clay, another material she often uses.

Documentary screening: “Identity in Fibers,” a compilation of short films, will be shown at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the gallery.

First Friday: A guided tour of the exhibition has been organized by the Cultural Council of Cortland County for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.

Documentary screening: “Bernice, 2014,” a film directed by Kristina Sorge, will be screened at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the gallery.

Lecture: Ellen Avril, chief curator and curator of Asian art at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, will provide an historical background to the works on display on Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Dowd Gallery Avril’s discussion, titled “Tying and Untying the Traditions of Korean Fiber Art,” will begin at 5 p.m.

Lecture: Yomee Lee, a SUNY Cortland professor of kinesiology and faculty member in the university’s Africana Studies Department, will set the exhibition in the broader context of sport and art with a talk on Thursday, Nov. 21, in Dowd Gallery. Her gallery talk, titled “Who am I? Searching for Identity through Sport Studies and Art,” will start at 5 p.m. Lee’s presentation will explore how sport and art can provide a lens through which an individual can explain and understand one’s identity shaped by the intersection of various social relations, particularly race and gender. This presentation also addresses how sport serves allows people who live on the margins construct important meanings through constant negotiation, compromise and cultural bargaining.

First Friday: The gallery will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. The First Friday events are organized by the Cultural Council of Cortland County.


TeaYoun Kim-Kassor's installation piece, "Power," is made of fabric, paraffin and rope. Shown above left is her 2012 piece made of fabric and thread, "Tension."

Kim-Kassor received her BFA in fiber arts at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul. She continued her research in art education as the Japanese equivalent of a Fulbright Scholar at Saitama University in Japan, where she earned an MAT. In the U.S., Kim-Kassor continued to explore fine arts in the MFA program at the University of Tennessee with a focus on installation before joining Georgia College.

As a result, her work reflects a distinctly Korean influence including Bojagi, Maedub cloths and Nubi sewing technique. But she has also been affected by international fiber artists and sculptors including Françoise Grossen, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Do Ho Suh and Janet Echelman. Her exposure to Japanese artwork represents a third skein woven into the tapestry.

Although individual pieces in “Beyond Places in Time” carry their distinct narrative, together they make larger statements about the artist and society.

“I have lived in three different cultures, and the cross-cultural experience makes me question myself about who I am and where I am,” Kim-Kassor said. “Through creating artworks, I wish to share observations on the relationship between migration, as a quasi-physical and documentable set of human behaviors, and a particular post-migration quandary, the identity question of ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Where am I?’”

Kim-Kassor’s work embodies the notion that art serves as a means toward mutual understanding between the artist and the viewer.

“I believe that an effective piece of artwork contains a concept of the artist’s true experience,” she said. “Art is a visual communication tool, and it can serve as a healing process through creative acts.”

Cultural heritage and exposure play a significant part in the public’s engagement with materials and ideas in Kim-Kassor’s work.

“The process evoked tension involved in confirming one’s cultural and personal identities,” she explained.

“…. I see tension as an outcome of migration,” she said. “It has been omnipresent in my nomadic life and in my ever-drifting art.”

Kim-Kassor has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her recent show was at Bloch Hall Gallery, the University of Montevallo, in Alabama, and the Korean Cultural Center – Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Washington, D.C. Other appearances include Venice Printmaking Studio in Murano Italy; La Macina di San Cresci in Florence, Italy; and Folklore Museum in Sendai, Japan.

Her artwork has been supported by the Folklore Museum in Sendai, Japan, the National Performance Network (supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation), CESTA in Tabor, Czech Republic, and Can Serrat in Barcelona, Spain.

Visit the Dowd Gallery website for details about other programs scheduled in conjunction with this exhibition.

The exhibition is supported by the Art and Art History Department, Campus Artist and Lecture Series, President’s Fund, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs’ Office. For more information about the gallery or to request group tours, contact gallery Director Jaroslava Prihodova at 607-753-4216 or