born 1990, Macomb, IL
lives in Akron
University of Akron lecturer Seuil Chung spent his formative years in Korea and returned to the United States in 2015 to attend art school in the Midwest. Several years ago, he recognized the importance of integrating his body into his art making and began working with clay for its tactile quality. As the artist says, “Clay is completely hands-on. There’s nothing better through which I can perform.” Chung’s works, ceramic and otherwise reflect three core principles: they must be simple; they must have a twist, be in some way unexpected; and they must be aggressive yet mindful.
To produce sly, amusing sculptures like the works on view here, Chung first creates sketches driven by intuition. “If it doesn’t make sense,” Chung confirms, “I go for it.” He refines initial marks through a cultivation of forms that resemble curving mounds or distorted body parts, focusing less on theme than on the absurd. This is apparent in Sore Finger (아픈 손가락), in which a bulbous sky-blue head translates the extraordinary pain of bodily trauma. Goong-di-pang-pang (궁디팡팡) is titled after Korean slang for spanking, which Chung suggests can be a gesture to incite fear but also to indicate care. Words with Thorns (말에 가시가 있네) illustrates Chung’s third artistic mantra by visualizing a degree of violence toward the body that is simultaneously neutralized by the artist’s distinct humor and spontaneity.