Yvonne Boag finds art in displacement

Having spent the last 20 years dividing her time between South Korea and Australia, Yvonne Boag’s paintings and prints responds to these surroundings thanks to her use of bold colours and forms.

Boag was the first Asialink artist-in-residence in South Korea in 1993 and since then has been travelling there regularly creating ties with many South Korean artists and teaching at several of the universities. She has a studio there and the time she spends in South Korea greatly influences her work.

Boag’s work is driven by displacement, beginning with moving from Scotland to Australia and, later, moving between Europe, South Korea, Japan and the Lockhart River Aboriginal Community on Cape York. She feeds off this dislocation and her work embodies the discomfort experienced when you don’t belong.

mokpo-scene-yvonne-boag-adelaide-review
Yvonne Boag, Mokpo Scene, acrylic on paper, 23×30.5 cm, 2017

The latest works are a response to the current tensions in South Korea as well as the everyday reality of life there. For example, Mokpo Scene is influenced by Boag’s visit to a fishing village in South Korea, in August 2017.

“It had a profound effect on me because of the dissonance between the abandoned brick works and the traditional life of the fishermen,” Boag says.

Boag’s feeling of displacement can be as simple as capturing how it feels to visit a friend in their home. The work titled Friend’s House captures this emotion and how it feels different to your environment but comfortable at the same time because it’s your friend.

finding-answer-yvonne-boag-adelaide-reviewYvonne Boag, Finding an Answer, acrylic on canvas, 100×65 cm, 2014

Other works included in the exhibition, such as Thinking about time and Finding an answer, reflect Boag’s existence and state of mind. She often makes these works at the same time as those that directly relate to her surroundings.

As well as the paintings, the exhibition features a number of gouaches that are about conversations Boag remembers. Through these works she is depicting what the conversation feels like. Boag says: “The shapes are the words, the colours the tones. The conversations are never really finished.”

Exhibiting alongside Boag’s pieces are sculptural works by Yuro Cuchor (that combine traditional and contemporary materials) and exchange photographs of found objects by Ed Douglas. The photographs explore an artistic connection with Douglas’ late father, an interest in certain religious beliefs and a personal and evolving perception of death.

Yvonne Boag, Ed Douglas and Yuro Cuchor
West Gallery Thebarton, 32 West Thebarton Road
Thursday, February 8 to Sunday, March 11
westgallerythebarton.com.au

Header image: Yvonne Boag, After the Rain (detail.), acrylic on canvas, 120×180 cm, 2017

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