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Sung Won Yun: Congeries of Beings


“Congeries of Beings,” Sung Won Yun’s exhibition of abstract mixed media paintings that link past, present, and future into an emotional contemplation of serenity, is on display from June 13 to August 22, 2019, at the Narthex Gallery of Saint Peter’s Church, 54th Street at Lexington in Midtown Manhattan.

In the exhibition, Sung Won depicts serenity not in a steady state where a temporal evolution ceases, but in a dynamic process that assembles individualities into an inseparable whole. Sung Won draws inspiration from her travels to Iceland and Norway and her observations of plants over time—in developing root systems, growing stems, and changing leaves. She illustrates these natural processes by the organic, abstract shapes floating within the universe of her canvasses, which create dynamic trajectories and unite past, present, and future. Behind this life, Sung Won layers scores of subtly varying colors to make surfaces appear monochromatic from a distance but maintain heterogeneity when viewed close up. As these layers accumulate, their meanings emerge and integrate toward a universal synthesis of serenity.

Sung Won Yun was born in Seoul and works in New York City. Her artistic media of painting, drawing, photography, and mixed media representing fundamental questions about homogenization of cultural, ecological, and geological processes in the congeries of time. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University in 2010, and completed her Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts in painting in Korea. She has had eight solo exhibitions, including at the KEPKO Gallery (Seoul), the Andover Newton Theological School (Newton, Massachusetts), and the Blank Space Gallery (New York). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions internationally since 1999, including at the Cooper Union School of Art (New York), the Garvey Simon Gallery (New York), and the Kate Oh Gallery (New York). Sung Won’s artistic achievements include the SMFA Traveling Fellowship (2012), Artist Fellowship from Terra Foundation for American Art (2010), and Yousuf Karsh Prize in photograph (2010).

Fostering the creative and performing arts is one of the longest continuous mission commitments of Saint Peter’s Church, a welcoming and diverse evangelical catholic communion nourished by God and publicly engaged with others in creatively shaping life in the city. Saint Peter’s hosts a rich collection of sculpture, textiles, paintings and fine objects including Nevelson Chapel, the only remaining intact sculptural environment created by the extraordinary Louise Nevelson, one of the 20th century’s premier abstract expressionist sculptors.

Some fifty years ago Elaine de Kooning began curating a gallery in the parish hall of the “old” Saint Peter’s Church. That tradition continues today in two modern spaces: the Narthex Gallery and the Living Room Gallery. Sung Won’s exhibition is part of Saint Peter’s program of rotating art installations alongside Nevelson Chapel, which aims to bring contemporary artists into regular conversation with the general public.