A public garden & cultural center

Kate Bae

Sunroom Project Space 2019 | July 21–September 2 

Pictured above: Kate Bae, Possible, Between and Together, 2019. Acrylic, canvas, cardboard, chairs, desk, fiberglass, nylon strings and wood. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Wave Hill.

In the Sunroom, Kate Bae’s immersive installation comprises flowers—created from acrylic paint—that drape from the ceiling and accumulate into a wishing well made by Bae, into which visitors are invited to reflect or float paper origami boats. The landscape evokes the ecosystem of Mount Halla on South Korea’s Jeju Island. This mountain as well as North Korea’s Mount Paektu are seen as holy symbols. Inspired by the possibility of amicable exchanges between South Korea and North Korea, Bae’s work examines the resilience of people and nature through landscape.

The installation explores the artist’s Korean background, history, border issues, peace and hope. Yellow Yuchae (canola) flowers bloom annually on Jeju Island, which developed a semi-matriarchal society in contrast to the patriarchal culture of the rest of the country. With the wishing well, Bae memorializes the 2014 tragedy of a ferry with 433 passengers (among them 325 high school students) on holiday that capsized as it traveled from Incheon, South Korea to Jeju Island, which is located furthest south. Two-hundred-ninety-nine of the students died, and yellow ribbons memorialized them and represented hope and support. Bae notes that although the dominant yellow brings up feelings of warmth, the color is tied to an eerie memory. The large piles of yellow flowers can be seen as a constant accumulation of new information and experiences for Bae as she struggles with a disconnect between her home country and the United States.

The abstract nature of the Korean language and ingrained Taoism also inform Bae’s practice as well as her spirituality, which she carries into her labor-intensive process. Bae individually constructs each flower and leaf, employing paint and a medium—a unique formula that she produced. After they have almost dried, she carefully peels the painted forms and assembles the numerous, thin pieces, often intertwining them with lace. In stripping and revealing the various layers, Bae examines her own multifaceted identity.

Bae’s work has been exhibited at Ground Floor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Wausau, WI; Deiglan Gallery, Akureyri, Iceland; Visual Center for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland; and Space One, Seoul, Korea, among others. She received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

SUN, JULY 21, 2-4:30PM

Summer Exhibitions Reception

SAT, JULY 28, 2PM
Meet the Artist

Click here to learn more about the artist.

A release about the 2019 season in the Sunroom Project Space is available here.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.