Inner Realms (1998)
In this exhibit the Nabi Gallery featured abstract paintings by Ingeborg ten Haeff and mixed-media constructions by Chong Gon Byun.
Although their backgrounds and methods are very different, both artists look inward for their subjects; their mysterious, dreamlike images are landscapes of the mind.
The critic Harold Rosenberg remarked on the "extraordinary kind of inward thinking" evident in Ms. ten Haeff's dark, brooding canvases, which appear abstract at first glance but after contemplation yield hints of human or natural forms. Born in Germany, the artist has lived in Brazil and traveled widely in Central America and Asia in the course of a long and illustrious career. She now lives on Washington Square in Manhattan and summers in East Hampton.
The Architect, 61x42, oil on canvas, 1968
In a review of the Nabi show that appeared in The New York Times on June 28, the critic Phyllis Braff commented on Ms. ten Haeff's "deft handling of crisp, seemingly electrified geometric surfaces and her equally confident use of softer, more lyrical and curving shapes. A good example of the latter, and perhaps the show's best painting, is Klingsor's Garden, featuring a dynamic, huge animated circular blossom made deliberately unnerving by the hint of a mystical eye."
Chong Gon Byun's creations speak of longing, loss, the perplexities of life in the modern age, and the clash of cultures: old and new, Asian and Western. They are formed out of old or mysterious objects-antique picture frames or boxes, sepia photos, obscure scientific instruments, camera lenses, violins, crystal balls-together with illusionistic painted images. The artist has had many shows in his native Korea and elsewhere in Asia as well as in Paris and New York; this is his first on the East End. Like Ms. ten Haeff, he is an avid world traveler but in recent years has made New York his home.
Chong Gon Byun, W.A. Mozart Requiem, K. 626, oil on violin and mixed media, 1997
Inner Realms also includes abstract paintings by Mihn-Jung Chae and sculpture by Kwang Woo Kim. Mr. Kim heads the sculpture department at Dong-A University in Pusan, Korea, and is currently on sabbatical in New York, where he is working on a series titled "Man and Nature." The Nabi is displaying four of these elegant constructions, which are formed out of weathered wood and gleaming hardware.
Kwang Woo Kim, Nature and Man #7, mixed media, 1998
Ms. Chae, who studied under Mr. Kim and is Mr. Byun's fiancee, divides her time between Pusan and New York. The Nabi show includes four works in acrylic on panel from her Totem series, which have just come from an exhibit in Paris. The New York Times singled out her "small but complex" and "most satisfying" paintings, saying: "A blend of veiled figurative suggestions and unpredictable, free markings in muted tones give these square, tabletlike pieces a solemn, subjective aura."
Mihn-Jung Chae, Presence of Mind #5, acrylic on paper, 10x9", 1995 More ten Haeff About the Artist More Chong Gon Byun Home