Trained as a painter in both the United States and Korea, Whang Inkie was one of eight artists featured at the Asian Art Museum's "Leaning Forward, Looking Back: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea" in 2003. Whang describes much of his recent work as "digital sansuhwa," a reinvention of traditional Korean landscape painting. The artist first deconstructs landscape images into pixel-like forms and then recomposes with starkly contrasting materials and colors. Traditional Korean landscape paintings once suggested the values of Confucianism and Taoism to their viewers and were revered for their spiritual characteristics. Whang's contemporary work makes manifest the paradox he faces: his works demonstrate his appreciation for both nature and tradition while positing a subtle critique of art's position in the industrialized society of which he is necessarily a part. His works therefore reflect the conflicted position of contemporary man, consumed by the digitized world and estranged from the 'natural' environment, the values and way of life it once represented.
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