“I’ve always been drawn to art in different ways, but sculpting clay by hand seems to come most naturally to me. I think it is my most effective means of communication,” says
After studying ceramics in college, Baek worked as a sculptor for animation and toys before pursuing graduate studies and a career in architecture. As an architect, she used digital tools like
Baek’s pieces incorporate colors in gradients or patterns onto textured surfaces that show where she has rhythmically pushed and formed and the clay with her fingers, emphasizing the connection between maker and object. Asymmetrical and bulbous, her otherworldly sculptures are redolent of boulders, cacti, coral, or micro-organisms. Ambiguity is a core tenet of her practice, especially as it relates to transformation and growth. “This is a central theme in my work because I think this active moment is an opportunity for questions rather than answers and wondering rather than deciding.” She continues:
I make forms that may seem like hybrids of familiar things or something with unexpected qualities that may make something appear strange or foreign. I see this as a entry point for questioning our assumptions and allowing ourselves space for reflection and curiosity. As a Korean immigrant growing up in the U.S., I understood that minimizing my differences was important in order to cause less friction or discomfort to others. Now, I perhaps feel some strength and joy in revealing the stranger side of something through my work.
Baek’s first solo exhibition The Pleasure of Growth continues through May 20 at
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