The Glass Art of Eun-Suh Choi

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Artist Statement

One of the characteristics that make the human experience such a unique one is that we all share a longing for personal enrichment. The search for individual fulfillment is a deep-seated pursuit within all of us. No matter how significant or superficial one’s ambition might be, it is the presence of aspiration that beckons us as humans to somehow claim or carve out our own understanding of ourselves within our lifetime. Although there is much attention and sensitivity towards the things that make us very different from one another, there is an undeniable connection in that we all desire something better for ourselves. This impulse is the impetus within my sculptural work, work that visually communicates the spiritual essence of human ambition.

My work specifically focuses on communicating the graceful flow of our emotional tendencies through the plastic medium of flameworked glass. I like to work sculpturally, utilizing form and its surrounding atmosphere to portray narratives based on the human encounter with success and failure in the pursuit of personal ambition.

I’m interested in portraying human aspiration with organic forms from the new perspective I had about myself within a foreign country. Originally from South Korea, I relocated to the United States. My Korean heritage tends to make me question myself in terms of my direction as an artist and an individual especially here in the USA. To address my interest in human aspiration, I like to integrate my personal philosophy and experience incorporating my Korean heritage into the work in an effort to merge my eastern background and my western experiences, similar to how we, as humankind, are unified through the sensation of personal ambition.

The structures that I create within recent work resemble objects that the viewer is familiar with in daily living. Ladders, trees, clouds, boxes, houses, and even hybrids of the five appear as reoccurring formal motifs.

The ladder is an object of strong symbolic references to these thematic interests. There is a certain poetry spoken when making work of this nature, with this material and in the manner that I use glass. These objects are associated with all things dense and structurally sound, whereas my renditions are light and airy— almost celestial. The gloss and glisten that is reflected from the glass construction further imply a spiritual or apparitional quality. It is as if these pieces were composed of light and were revealing themselves unto the viewer as a holy vision, towards a direction above and beyond where they stand.

In my work, I am attempting to create a physical representation of what it feels like to have a personal moment of revelation when standing in the presence of the actual piece. The moment feels as if something sacred is taking place as the viewer visualizes him or herself climbing the dedicate structure in an equally delicate manner— transcending one’s self beyond the realm of physical possibility. Although beautiful looking objects, there is an allure to these pieces that similarly surpasses their physicality in that the viewer not only becomes overwhelmed by what they see, but, more importantly, in what they sense internally.

I use the metaphorical qualities of organic structures within the natural world as motifs for ascension. In a much more lively and asymmetrical composition, I use a similarly delicate assemblage of glass rods to create renditions of a tree form. Although the tree holds many sacred and symbolic connotations, it is apparent that I am interested in using it to make a metaphorical connection to the spirit of human aspiration. Unlike a ladder, this is an object that lives and breathes, has the capability of growing and is equally capable of dying. It is a mortal entity in itself and is a thing that bears many human qualities, but it seems that it’s potential for escalation could be of my main interest. Although all trees start as seedlings, it takes a certain kind of environment and a certain set of circumstances for that seed to gradually grow into its full potential as a tall, budding and healthy tree. There is a unique parallel between the development of any given tree and the human spirit in that there is no redundancy amidst their kind in how either thing develops or what it is they develop into. Nor is there a guarantee that either thing will develop into their full potential. The pieces that I create under the influence of the natural world read as individual narratives, perhaps even as portraiture of certain individuals or moments of my own personal growth. Nevertheless, I use the malleable qualities of glass to bend and curve the material into frozen renderings of limbs and branches that ethereally reach toward some invisible goal above them. Some of the more interesting pieces are those in which I integrate the organic motion of the limbs with the stoic stature of the ladder form.

My recent work carries a quiet, meditative tone that leans heavily towards its spiritual. It’s the kind of work that viewers bask in rather than investigate on behalf of its celestial allure and its ability to evoke introspection. It wouldn’t be accurate to consider me as a spiritually spoken person, nor should my work be considered prophetic. However, there is an undeniable internal and contemplative aura within my work that resonates with our human desire for and pursuit toward something “higher” and “bigger.” I would like to offer a chance for viewers to identify their own dreams with my portrayal of the human need to aspire. We will try every possible approach towards achieving our goals.