Sowing Seeds of Emptiness
Empty Void 34, 2020
Artist's hair, Acrylic medium on panel
10" x 10"
The Offering Bowl 05, 2022
Artist's hair, horsehair, feathers, glue
6 ½"h x 6"w x 6"d
Jayoung Yoon’s work deeply engages with the spiritual, psychological, personal, and socio-political consciousness. Her creative interest lies in exploring memory, perception, and bodily sensations. Jayoung Yoon is a multidisciplinary artist, living and working in New York’s Hudson Valley. Born in South Korea, Yoon is steeped in Buddhist practice and philosophy and incorporates them into her work. A key element in her work is the concept of “emptiness,” which she uses to explore the interdependence of our nature. Her choice of medium, human hair, focuses the viewer’s attention on the body, and is an appropriate symbol of remembrance as it does not decay until long after death.
Jayoung uses individual strands of her own hair to knot or weave intricate structures. The pieces are like fine nets or webs and have delicate transparency. Some of the pieces are woven weightless sculptures that move with the flow of air through the room and respond when a viewer passes by. These small movements in space shift the viewer’s awareness of their surroundings and introduce subtle perceptions that are often taken for granted.
In her two-dimensional works, individual strands of hair are placed within layers of acrylic medium and beeswax. In these evocative pieces, structure fades into the painted ether, representing thoughts dissolving or surfaces between states of the conscious and subconscious mind.
The works in the exhibition transform the gallery into an intimate and contemplative space where the viewer can discover new perceptions and channels of awareness. When Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, explained the concept of Emptiness, he said, “Without a cloud, there will be no rain, the trees cannot grow: and without the trees, we cannot make paper,” and continued to say “They are empty of a separate self.” In Buddhism, emptiness is not the same as nothing but indicates all things' constant flux and interrelatedness. Garrison Art Center is a place for the audience to closely see nature; plants growing, light changing, and clouds moving, the river flowing, a tapestry of constantly changing phenomena. Likewise, Yoon’s installation is a chance for visitors to slow down and see the world through self-observation and the contemplation of art.