Korean Prints Now art exhibit
Korean artists display their work during the Korean Prints Now art exhibit on Wednesday in the Art building's Landmark Art Studio.

Originally from Seoul, Korea, Texas Tech associate professor Sang-Mi Yoo is bringing a piece of her culture to campus with the exhibit Convergence: Korean Prints Now.

After three years of planning and corresponding with artists of Korean descent living in the United States and Korea, Yoo, the curator of the exhibit, decided to create a travelling exhibit to visit the Williams Tower Gallery in Houston in September and October and the Landmark Gallery on Tech campus afterward.

After living in Lubbock for six years, it was important for Yoo to expose West Texas to Korean culture so that her personal artwork would be better understood, the visual artist said.

“Many times when I introduce my art to Lubbock viewers, and it may be politically not correct, but the viewers are not necessarily exposed to a variety of cultures in terms of events and exhibitions being held in this place,” she said. “I found that in order for them to understand my artwork as an artist, it was essential to introduce my culture and where I’m coming from.”

Lubbock is underexposed to various cultures through art because of its geographical location and the means it takes to bring in the art, Yoo said.

“Houston and big cities, such as Dallas, have a constant flow of outer influences in events and shows,” she said. “They don’t have to make efforts to show those things; it’s a constant flow. While in West Texas, because of the geographical location, some people have to make certain efforts to bring in those things, such as visiting scholars.”

The exhibit features a variety of prints including digital photography, installation, 3D casting and light boxes, Yoo said.  The pieces represent not only convergence between American culture and Korean culture, but also how the artists’ lives changed when they experienced American culture.

“Many artists in this show studied in the United States and use what they learned through the culture and the academic education back home,” she said. “Many artists staying in the United States, they bring their own culture here and mold it into their life here, through their American life and American education.”

Brooklyn Barber, a freshman without a declared major from Fort Worth, said she thought it was a great idea for Yoo to bring in the international works.

“I think it makes her really excited,” she said about her drawing professor. “It brings her a sense of home. I don’t think she’s been home in a while. I think the exhibition being from Korean artists gives her something from her home representing her.”

The exhibit creates a sense of unity between America and Korea, Barber said.

“You really can’t tell this is Korean prints, this is Korean art,” she said. “It’s universal. It kind of brings us together as different countries.”

Rebecca Leal, a communication design major from Lubbock, said it was interesting to view the different perspectives of the artists and see the technique and skills of artists from another geographical location.

“I think we should have more cultural things like that and explore different cultures,” the freshman said. “I think that we don’t really focus on the fact that the artists are from a different culture, but we focus on the fact that these are Korean artists.”

Jason Harshman, a graduate student studying painting, said he appreciated the diversity of the multiple mediums used in the exhibit and how it appeals to numerous people.

“(They) come together and have a similar voice,” said Harshman, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native. “I think the combination of photos that are digitally enhanced against the very traditional printmaking is a great juxtaposition.”

For Harshman, art is important because it increases the viewer’s visual language, no matter how much knowledge of the piece the viewer has, he said.

“The visual language walking though a gallery is priceless, he said. “The images are easy to digest, so you’re able to consume this great image.

“For you to read a great book, you have to sit down for hours and hours. For you to create a great visual language, you only need to reference it for about five minutes and you start to internalize it. That’s the beauty of art: you can come in and walk away with a wealth of knowledge within 30 minutes.”

Convergence: Korean Prints Now is showing in the Landmark Arts Gallery in the art building through Dec. 18.

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