Artist Statement: Chong-Ok Lee Matthews
Originally I am from Seoul in South Korea. While my life in Houston is full, happy and busy, I longed to visit the place of my birth. In June 2012 I planned an extended visit to see and become reacquainted with extended family and also to work with a fresh eye and many new skills to record the Korean places I recall fondly.
I exhibited 35 watercolor paintings of nudes while in Korea at the Hong Ik University for two weeks. These works were presented to my honored friends and relatives upon closing the exhibition.
The beauty of what I recalled was transcended by the exquisite reality of the Korean landscape. My work there over three months was during the summer and I was able to capture on each outing the rolling hills and green spaces in varying light, and weather conditions and interpreted this in simplified washes of color in oils on paper. I captured the precious trees and green water and recorded such places as Wool San Mountain, Tae Baek Mountain, Je Ju Island, the East Sea, and the South Sea.
In all, I created over forty works of art of my homeland, and was able to express my memories of the places of my youth with an experienced eye and hand after many years of art study. I present these works as a form of poetic imagery combining my memories and the present reality of a beautiful place in the world.