Why do we perceive as we perceive? Michael Joo (b. 1966, USA) has non-linear, almost cyclical approach to his practice. Together with his combination of scientific language and research, this results in work that is a documentation of process.Read More
Whether chemically treated, silver-coated or photo-based, Joo's artwork combines a range of techniques associated with sculpture, painting, photography and print-making. He continues to blur the boundaries between art and science through his investigation into ontology, epistemology and entropy; creating a cross-disciplinary and multi-dimensional dialogue to engage, question, meditate and explore.
By juxtaposing humanity's various pools of knowledge and culture, Joo addresses the fluid nature of identity itself. It seems as if the artist's intention is to achieve the unachievable: to make us see an object in real life that is barely conceivable as thought alone.
Using silver nitrate, a chemical traditionally used, in photography, the artist explores the compounds inherent reflective properties and ability to render visible the invisible. It allows the viewer to both be bathed in the reflected light of the work whilst physically appearing within the work itself, at once seeing the artist's work and their response to it.
Joo is more interested in the way we perceive than in what it is we are looking at in the symbolic as well as the literal sense. The seemingly liquid and hybrid environments that Joo creates reflect his own history: born to Korean parents in the United States, a science graduate turned artist, Joo comes from a multi-cultural background with an interdisciplinary academic history. The diversity of reference and material in his work mirrors the complexity and richness, which is so typical of identity–collective and individual–in modern contemporary society. It is a complexity that Joo has experienced and been influenced by since childhood.
Michael Joo received his MFA from the Yale School of Art, Yale University, New Haven, in 1991, after graduating with a BFA from Washington University, St Louis, 1989.
Text courtesy Kavi Gupta.
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