A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Jo, Sook Jin

Other Names: Sook-Jin; 조숙진; Sookjin

Artist Website

Wood Construction

"Anonymous, abandoned materials such as old doors, scrap plywood panels and other detritus of daily life are the collected mediums I use to create large scale constructions. The discarded materials I choose to work with have a transcendent, almost somber beauty. I sense people’s traces, the motions of time and the eternal cycle of life and death in them. Guided by the materials' intrinsic nature, I like to feel them in my hands and become one with them, searching for the sculptural as well as pictorial elements. According to my intuition, I construct and integrate different pieces; I drill holes into the wood, burn, dye or paint other portions, my work represents a universe of forms, an exploration of various elements corroborated to produce a harmonious result with a certain meditative quality.

In 1984, I started to free myself from the conventions of my traditional background, discarding any concepts otherwise restricting or inhibiting my work. The art I make is not painting or sculpture. I like to allow myself the freedom of not being confined to the limitations of dimension. Through powerful, emblematic structures, I have attempted to defy all gender and regional precepts rendered detectable in works of art.

Through the process of my work, I have learnt my way of life. I believe in the existence of a world beyond the 'material'. My hope is this spiritual element is evident in my work. Influenced by my Korean upbringing, I began with the Taoist philosophy of interconnectedness with the whole of creation. This has evolved my contact with Christianity to add a new and focused dimension to my work.

My recent work furthers an understanding of the relationship between being and non-being as they are essential to create and balance one another. It is explored by heightened awareness of perceived form and void, the catalysts of space making. This exploration plays upon the ability to create meditation spaces of the mind or spirit as it provides opportunity to understand beyond the material. I hope the viewer is inspired to engage the non-being of intuition, the essence of materials, and seeking a spiritual experience. And I hope, also, that the viewer sees, as I have, the order of the cosmos: the ultimate revelation of why things exist."

Sook Jin Jo, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works