de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Mirang Wonne: Fire Script

April 10 - June 15, 2014

Mirang Wonne at work

The work of Bay Area artist Mirang Wonne is rarely as it seems. Rich with complexity and surprising dichotomy, her pieces weave together art and industry in unique and compelling ways. Borrowing inspiration from nature, Wonne's imagery is reminiscent of botanical and maritime forms—tangled and overlapping tree branches, sea kelp, and anemones. Yet, the infusion of nature is subtle, each motif toeing the line between representation and abstract design.

The beauty and elegance of Wonne's work belies its inherent construction. From a distance, her pieces appear like delicate swaths of silk, but upon closer inspection their sharp metallic nature becomes apparent. For Wonne, this element of illusion is a direct reflection of life—a reminder that first impressions can be misleading, that what you see is not always what you get.

Intricate and ethereal, her work is created from unlikely materials. Using a blowtorch, she draws directly onto thin wire mesh screen. There is no under-drawing, no formal plan for execution, only the intuitive, delicate progression of creativity. Her marks are calligraphic, evoking the ancient Sumi ink traditions of her ancestors. Each stroke leaves behind a faint rainbow as the metal surface is transformed by the heat of the flame.

Image: Mirang Wonne at work in her studio. Photo courtesy of the artist.

 

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