Instinctive Gestures. Solo Show by Sally Ko


Instinctive Gestures. Solo Show by Sally Ko

March 17 to April 28, 2017

Opening March 17th from 7 to 10 pm

Artist Talk: April 21, 2017

Sally’s abstract paintings and sculptures explore an emotional, meditative and instinctive elaborated art making process which consists of pouring and manipulating paint to create a loose yet controlled surface. Her unique painting process evolves from years of experimentation and dedication to understanding the physical qualities of the medium. The result is a visual experience that provides the viewer an opportunity to explore the physicality of the painting medium and the emotional gestures that arise from the surface of each work. The exhibition provides a reflective and harmonious environment for the viewer to create his or her own interpretation.


About the Show

Encountering the work of Sally Ko can be compared to one’s experience while looking through the lens of a microscope. Initially, the viewer wonders about what will be found on the other side of the microscope beyond naked eyes. Once there, a new micro world reveals itself. Looking through the magnifying glass of Sally Ko’s art, skin, surface, protection, and enclosure are a few words that come to mind as one stands within a few feet away from her work.

Ko’s paintings depict an elaborate surface made of circular fragments carefully placed within close proximity of each other while no overlapping is evident. These interconnected, single layered fragments create a magnified pattern on the surface of every work. They take on transparent and sometimes iridescent qualities forming a single thick layer of material that extends from side to side of the canvas in total fluidity. What lies behind this armor of thick gels, mediums and pigments is the raw texture of a single colored canvas.

In her studio, Ko works in a long and arduous process of pouring and maneuvering the medium as it flows across the surface. Similar to a seasoned scientist, Ko anticipates the gravitational forces that pull the liquid material and adjusts her movements making spontaneous corrections. Although the process appears to be purely impulsive, there is a carefully orchestrated preparation for each piece. From color selections to canvas motions and techniques unique to the artist, Ko embraces the medium with respect and determination. It is in this repetitive process that the artist enters into a ceremonial and transformative act.

The cell-like shapes in Ko’s painting surfaces bond together as if to become a protective skin. As an inner-healing process, the resulting works reflect on the transformative power of our very own organism to adapt, protect and encapsulate itself from the dangers of the outside world.

Similarly, the protective skin serves as a psychological reminder of our own human experiences. Along the journey of life, we thicken our skins to protect ourselves from the dangers and hurts of life. One experience at a time poured unto us in unexpected ways shapes our character and brings about resilience as we face the hard seasons of life. In Ko’s three-dimensional hanging vessels the metaphor of protection becomes more evident. The vessel shaped canvas covered with the circular fragments create a cocoon of protection similar to that of a caterpillar. The vessels protect and hide as much as they reveal in their outer surface. A sense of protection and communal care appears to be embodied in the installation of these works.

Sally Ko’s art explores the balance of life found in the intimate process of our own individual and collective journey. It is in this palpable micro-cosmos that one finds a web of interconnected forms revealing our very own humanity both at the biological and the psychological levels.


Sergio Gomez, MFA

About Sally Ko

Sally Ko was born in Seoul, Korea in 1971. She immigrated to the United States with her family when she was two-years old. She grew up in the city and north suburbs of Chicago and now lives in Chicago. Sally attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art.

Sally works in a variety of styles and media but is especially known for her style of pouring and manipulating paint to create the loose, yet controlled sensation of her paintings. The organic patterns and appearance of this variety of her paintings reflect not only the actual theme or content of the particular painting in which they appear but also the mental process that gives life to the work.

Sally’s work is widely appreciated and can be found in the personal collections of a variety of clients that includes everyone from teachers to producers, executives to restaurateurs and several prominent national and international names. Her works have been featured in various magazines and have been displayed in organized shows, art fairs, corporate spaces, hotels, fashionable restaurants, galleries and international museums.