The Nilson Gallery features the work of New Jersey artists, including the New Jersey Emerging Artists Series, a unique and exciting forum for NJ artists who have never had a one-person show of their work in our State. The artists selected for this Series represent the diversity of talent in the State and demonstrate their creativity in a wide variety of media. Gallery talks scheduled during the exhibitions offer artists the opportunity to share their stories and provide insight about what inspires and drives them in the creative process.
Current Exhibition: Seunghwui Koo, Amazing Piggies, Terracotta Mixed Media Sculpture
When Seunghwui Koo was young, her parents owned a butcher shop. During that time, she saw a lot of butchered pig. In Korea, when one opens a new business, buys a new car, or starts a big new endeavor, it is tradition to have a celebration with a pig’s head in the center or the room while money is put into the pig’s mouth. The person then bows and prays for a good and comfortable life.
There is also a belief that when one dreams of a pig, it is a precursor to material wealth. In Korean culture, people will buy lottery tickets and charms of pigs to compliment these beliefs and traditions.
As an adult now living in Cliffside Park, NJ, Koo has experienced and observed many new cultural things. She has discovered there is a completely different connotation associated with the pig. The pig can also symbolize greed. This new world is a place where money rules, the distinction between good and evil is blurred, love and happiness are small things, philosophy has no place, and only material beauty matters. “I have observed people curse the rich for having monetary wealth but at the same time be envious.” Koo stated and continued “In today’s competitive society everyone appears to be running to win a race but not realizing you cannot win away your loneliness when the people you have ignored or mistreated in your pursuit are not there for you at the finish line.”
Koo’s pig figures are symbolic of the different kinds of people she encounters in her own everyday race of a life. The bright colors and satiric images used on the terracotta clay and mixed media “Piggies” have been purposely used to create a whimsical urban vibe to her work but upon further inspection represent a deeper and sometimes critical commentary on today’s society with the end goal of connecting with the viewer to inspire thought, forgiveness, solace and hope.
Amazing Piggies, Terracotta Mixed Media Sculpture
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, May 11, 7-8 pm
Free and Open to the Public
The Rhythms of the Sea, Cold Wax Encaustic Paintings
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, June 8, 7-8 pm
Free and Open to the Public