Vivid Art Gallery is hosting a special exhibit, entitled Gift Giving for emerging artist Izzy Cho during the month of February. The show will explore Cho’s Korean-American heritage, specifically the conjunction of magic and utilitarianism within the superstitions of this cultural landscape. On Friday, February 2nd, the gallery will be hosting its monthly First Friday Art Opening for the exhibit from 5-7 PM.
A print, sculpture, and installation artist, Cho’s work engages with symbolism, semiotics, and visual patterns derived from her Korean American identity, often within the context of superstition, to discuss transnationalism and celebration. Much of her work is 3-dimensional, which provides added depth and complexity to her work; it further allows viewers to interpret her work in different ways from various vantage points. These pieces utilize hardware, specifically custom-decorated nails, to act as a visual reference to Pachinko machines, an arcade game native to Asia. Her work is extremely detailed and intricate, with each piece taking on a different, unique shape. Her works on paper, which primarily utilize screen printing and collage processes, are double-sided, allowing for a unique 360 degree viewing experience for the visitor.
She says, “My source material combines the traditional, modern, and personal in order to describe my experience witnessing the globalization of Korean culture that has restructured the meaning of cultural objects and imagery.Ultimately, my practice celebrates earnest but humorous attempts to pay homage to a transnational upbringing. Through techniques of (mis)translation, I create mimicries based on everyday rituals that contribute to the ever-growing echo chamber of iconography and nostalgia associated with a third culture.”
In this particular exhibit, her goal is to comment on traditions surrounding gift giving. Cho thinks about gift giving within the specific Korean American cultural context. To her, the act of giving a gift alludes to specific systems of politeness, traditional superstitions, and class structures.
As a result, most of the imagery and concepts within her work are inspired by gestures of (cultural) kindness, sharing, and literal gifts given to her. These moments are a significant way in which she learned about her heritage, which she sees as a formative gift in itself. Viewing gift giving as something delightful, magical, and generative, she uses plenty of repetition in the imagery, such as burgeoning blossoms and sparkles. These various factors influence each aspect of her work, from color palette to the design of the piece.
Please stop by to see this exhibit throughout the month of February.