Through my recent body of work Blessings I continue to probe into my emotions experienced as a young mother. Becoming a mother has changed my understanding of myself and the world. I could no longer do the things that I used to enjoy such as spontaneously walking into a bookstore and stay for an hour, or going out for a stroll after dark. Only when this kind of freedom was taken away I realized that these small habits constituted a big part of who I am.
When I became pregnant with my second child I went through three-month-period of sheer discomfort. All my waking hours were spent either feeling like throwing up or figuring out what to eat. The only thing that helped me was watching a Korean movie or drama, which I never do normally. I missed everything about Korea. For three days as soon as Suhahn went to daycare I set in front of the computer until I had to go pick her up at five. Those days were hard because I would get a severe headache from sobbing all day. I would never look down on people who are addicted to Korean dramas anymore.
By seven or eight o’clock I used to get tired to the point of death. I wanted to leave my body literally. Then when I finally get to sleep after Suhahn’s bed routine, my sleep would get interrupted by frequent bathroom runs or hunger. I had to eat a bowl of plain rice to ease my stomach. Often I couldn’t go back to sleep right away. One day at three AM I googled “pregnancy depression.” As I was reading through some of the articles I concluded that I was depressed. This fact did not upset me or even surprised me. I knew this was part of nature.
Nature is a mother of irony. When I was at the peak of my self-diagnosed prenatal depression, I started getting ideas for my next art project. It is what has become Blessings Part II. Without knowing exactly why I was drawn to geometric patterns of lattice windows in traditional Korean houses (chang-sal-moo-ni.) I especially liked looking at octagonal shaped ones. To me they have a sense of perfection as an individual shape and harmony when tessellated in multiples. My normal self (or pre-mother KimyiBo) would have doubts about using an image without a clear reason, but as a fearless mother I did not even hesitate and charged forward. I started drawing octagons in various configurations.
Using screen printing, which is super fast printmaking method, I have constructed 340 octagons already. I have a few more hundreds to go. I am going to line them up like a marching band vertically from the ceiling to the floor. There will be rows of walls made of colorful octagons in the gallery.
The exhibition will be at Gage Family Art Gallery at Augsburg College starting from May 18th.
Opening reception is from 5-7pm on Friday May 18th, 2012.