THE EXPRESSION OF ONNAGATA – CHUNBUM PARK
Event Location: One Art Space, 23 Warren Street, TriBeCa,NY 10001
Exhibition: July 26 – August 1, 2022 Exhibition hours from 1pm – 6pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 28, 2022 from 6pm – 9pm
One Art Space announces a solo exhibition by Chunbum “Chun” Park (b. 1991, Seoul, South Korea), a figurative artist whose work explores gender fluidity, performance, and androgyny through the lens of the onnagata and Northeast Asian beauty. Park received a BFA from School of Visual Arts in 2020 and is an MFA candidate at Rochester Institute of Technology. She additionally attended the Art Students League intermittently from 2013.
Their thesis, “Painting as a Vehicle for Identity Formation and Survival,” draws from the same theme their solo exhibition, “The Korean Onnagata,” does. Chun’s research and artwork centers on using the role of the onnagata in Japanese Kabuki theatre by male actors performing femininity to explore her own gender identity as an assigned-male Korean dealing with racialized beauty standards. The conservative Korean culture Park grew up in meant that their femininity only came out in a low-energy way, so the flamboyance of the onnagata allows them to explore more freely. Park now uses she/her and they/them pronouns and expresses their identity through their art.
In her thesis, Park found inspiration in the works of Judith Butler and Shirley-Anne Tate, and each one of her paintings shows not just artistic passion but also rigorous research and intellectual curiosity. The exhibition will present works involving the theories of gender fluidity and performativity. Gender fluidity, which means that gender is fluid and on a spectrum like a rainbow, allows Park to place themselves in the middle zone of androgyny and alternation between the masculine and the feminine, like the Japanese onnagata. Her paintings make use of symbolism from both the natural world and consumerism to create a portrait of their ever-changing, complex gender expression.
Park’s exhibition allows viewers to travel through time and view her changing self-perception across her twelve-year art career. “The Expression of Onnagata” is a celebration of self-discovery and a nuanced look at how the boundaries of gender can blur just like the droplets and watercolors of Park’s paintings.
Venue: One Art Space
23 Warren Street Map
(Editor’s note: Chun is one of our writers at UP! She has the highest-read article on our site, an academic analysis of Van Gogh’s paintings through color theory. It would be amazing if some of our readers would show up to support her on her big day.)