The world of Sounion Hong

During her time at AS220, International Artist-in-Residence Sounion Hong presented a series of silkscreen and offset prints at AS220’s 95 Empire Black Box Theater on Wednesday, January 13, 2013.

Sounion is an illustrator and graphic designer originally from Seoul, South Korea, with a BFA from the Kaywon School of Art and Design. Her work transports the viewer to an alternate universe; a place where the characters explore themes like loneliness, optimism, life, and the city. For this purpose, she used a variety of dark to light printmaking techniques- such as Mezzotint. During her residency at AS220, Sounion also developed a small zine called “Tooth Fairy”, in which she illustrates the story of a group of Tooth Fairies who have to collect their daily quota of teeth in order to return to their home.

Sounion’s style is an interesting combination of shapes, colors and feelings, conveying a synesthetic atmosphere through which the audience can almost feel that these elements have a life of their own. Among Sounion’s prints, the pieces “Father”, “Hand” and “Toothy” seem to have a narrative connection. The first print, “Father”, is a depiction of a masculine figure embracing a child. The figure seems to be giving the child a breath of life and consciousness, represented by planets and nature. This is followed by “Hand” which depicts a group of babies crawling over a giant hand, looking for warmth and security. Finally, the print “Toothy” shows us a full-figured Tooth Fairy as she gracefully walks on a tightrope over the city. Her chest is comprised of teeth, and her head is a celestial body, whose light  illuminates the urban background. These three prints seem to represent the cycle of life: “Father” represents the creation, “Hand” represents the childhood, and Toothy represents adult life.

Sounion taps into an imagination nurtured by all the art and popular culture she has been exposed to through her travels and her life in various cities. From Seoul to Toronto to New York to Providence, her visually striking set of prints is like a symbiosis of all these different urban spaces, conveying a unique vision of urban life.

Review by William Staffeld.