Artist Ji Won Cha enjoys creating an active harmony amongst the conflicting components of her paintings, including colour, texture, and subject. ‘Dreamland 304’ is an exhibition of mixed media paintings made up of air brush techniques, oil pastel and oil paint. One can see the process of making within each painting, they often appear mapped, like a digital image might be (when data is compiled and formatted into a virtual image). Cha wavers between the figurative and the abstract, and this sensitive hesitation oscillates through the artworks. Other dichotomies present in the work include digital/biological.
Some of her painterly narratives are set in an abstract woodland, a place often shrouded in magic and mystery and the setting of many fairy tales. The paintings are ultimately about such tales that we learn as children, and how these experiences come to influence us, whether consciously or not, in adulthood. Illustrations of fairy tales from the 1900s, along with images from more contemporary sources such as social media and personal photographs influence the way Ji Won Cha paints.
Ji Won is also interested in how these tales and folklores educate us, or interrogate the unknown, with the hope of discovering truth. We as humans strive to know more about that which is far mightier than us, nature. Yet we heavily and ungraciously intervene, often to the detriment of other species who also rely on nature. Ji Won expresses “It appears increasingly wrong to call nature ‘natural’ anymore. In the current time, nature is objectified; it is a commodity, a fabrication, a fetish.” The artist herself finds solace in nature but uses it within the context of her art in an attempt to comprehend its inherent contrasts. Nature at once inflicts absolute fear and paralysing awe, through it we celebrate life and contemplate fears.