Jacob Paik is an artist who specializes in creating geometrical abstract painting on structurally shaped canvas. He is interested in depicting the depth of human mind using geometry as a tool to decode human reasoning and its inner implication of human desire to situate ourselves within the universe. His experience as an only child in the fast-developing and highly competitive country, South Korea, in the 90’s where social norms and expectations were prioritized over individuality led Paik to revolt and reject conventional form of canvas and representation of reality altogether. He has a bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornell University, where he graduated with Post-Baccalaureate Award and the Elsie Dinsmore Popkins Memorial Painting Award. Since then, he has shown internationally in Italy and Korea, and had his first solo exhibition in New York City in 2014. Recently, the Cosmos House Foundation in South Korea has acquired his work.
There are no straight lines in nature. Even a beam of light, possibly one of the closest examples of a straight line widely perceived, has been proved to be a wave of particles. Dots, lines, angles, and curves, the most basic geometric elements are all products of the human desire to understand the unexplained and spatialize ourselves within the surroundings to make our existence credible. Using geometric elements in deconstructing ways to reverse human minds’ logical progression of thoughts in my artworks, I envision human beings’ instinct, fear, fragility, and solemn contemplation of existence. In these aspects of human nature, I seek to find truer ourselves with our relation to the universe. It is a journey of asking questions and revisiting the very foundation of reasoning.
The journey starts when I take random and mundane thoughts to the extreme where they always end as all my logic and belief fail in transcendental oblivion. Reminiscences of the journey compel me to recreate the experience as physical entity. Creating broken, geometrically contoured painting surface, usually made with wood and sometimes in combination with canvas, is an expression of a distant world beyond our reason. When laying down shapes with paint, I juxtapose minimalistic hard edge lines along with expressionistic brush strokes to further distinguish the collapse of reason at the end of the journey.
Art, in a condition of you and I being real, is a denial of reality, and at the same time, an assertion of innate desire to find ultimate beauty in reality. This ultimate beauty is not aesthetically pleasing, nor peaceful in heart. It lies within a process of repeated positioning of self between the ideal self and the world. It is a process of compromising the importance of self-existence within the harsh and indifferent reality. The neutrality will be achieved at the end as silent and peaceful understanding.
In attempt to visualize the concept, I start by rejecting conventional concepts of image. The effort is unrewarding as any rejection of visual perception births another. However, perpetual repetition of the practice frees one from previous attachments. It is at between the thresholds of each reductive attachments where glimpse of the neutrality reveals.
I use the most basic elements of visual language for their intrinsically theoretical existence. They all come from same origin but their hierarchy leading to higher dimensions shows something revealing about developmental traces of cognition. Arranging these elements in a relationship among one another becomes records of my cognitional transformation. Results, created by different levels of fluctuating consciousness, look so distant yet too resembling. My work is a product of this process and journey through the doorway of finding the neutrality.