Park Seo-Bo’s canvasses seem more weathered than worked on. White Cube Mason’s Yard assumes a temple-like aura as sixteen gnarled monochromes, each with their own dialect of marks, somehow make the gallery feel a little emptier.
Painted in a dull white and etched back into with pencil, each image, although a simple binary of line and negative space, constantly reinvents itself. As though tracing the motions of some otherworldly activity, like footprints in the snow, these marks record Park’s hand as it dances rhythmic compositions into being. We might expect to be confronted with something chaotic but instead we find something regular, harmonious and dynamic.
In a Western world largely understood in secular terms, Park finds a convincing means of expressing that which he calls spiritual. In ‘Ecriture’, we are presented with something unusual, as if the artist is able to access metaphysical secrets and interpret them like a seismograph, developing sixteen messages from the mysterious other side.
These paintings then, are objects for contemplation. If nothing is their subject, then like a vacuum, everything can enter in. The monochromes accept our shadows as they fall upon the canvas, so they vibrate with a performative exuberance. The whole gallery is a sanctuary of quiet and calm. The marks in the paint seem to respond to the sounds in the basement space, which like a stethoscope to the chest, makes audible London’s faint and constant hum. There is a soft omnipresent murmur and some indefinable essence seems to have bled from the paintings into the gallery - an opaque white noise, refusing to be understood.
Functioning in a kind of shamanic role, Park loses himself in a ritualistic act. We stand before these performance remnants unable to judge their merits or faults. Instead what is communicated is felt rather than learnt. With the breath of empty space on the back of the neck, viewers might find themselves disappearing into something larger and more authentic than these monochromes.
Park pulls at a hidden thread that weaves between the mysterious polarities of presence and absence. The cyclical motions of the natural world are interpreted through his hand: the instrument of a more distant sphere.