Art seems to be getting more and more crazy these days, and I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in the basement of a gallery with grown men break dancing around traffic cones with cushions strapped to their legs at some point in our lives. But bringing it all back to something altogether more calming and charming is Jeong Woo-jae with his exhibition named The Girl and Her Dog at Shine Artists (Albemarle Gallery), based in the heart of London.
Featuring some simple yet beautiful oil on canvas pieces, at first glance you’d think you’re looking at serene photographs but upon closer inspection you’ll see that they are very delicately painted portraits. Jeong is very talented, and the images are so life-like that even details such as lens flares are painted in, like you’d see in photographs. His artistic ability is so great that it’s hard to believe that these are paintings!
Now if the sound of oil paintings bores you and you crave art with a bit of weird, never fear, these oil painting aren’t your standard fruit bowl pictures. All the paintings feature a girl and her giant chihuahua!
We loved these playful images, the simplicity and colourfulness of these compositions is really captivating. All set during a bright and sunny day, it gives us that light and fluffy Spring feeling. But these images are not just about a girl and her comically large dog. There is a reason why Jeong chose calm and quiet backdrops for his paintings, all of which are actual locations in Seoul. It is stated that:
Concerned by the increasingly unfeeling nature of our fast-paced society, Jeong maintains that humanity needs to rekindle our former nature and embrace a kind of purity of state – something that continues to exist in our animals.
Although these images appear to be joyful, Jeong is using the girl to mirror his own self and as we look at the portraits, you’ll feel a slight sombreness as Jeong subtly yet effectively captures that feeling of being “caught between the dependency of childhood and self-assuredness of adulthood, [the girl] encapsulates the artist’s own anxieties about the burgeoning responsibilities and anxieties of independence”. And so in comes the faithful pet. This playful size reversal is symbolic in that it represents the protection and comfort an owner feels from their pets and Jeong tries to explore the complementary nature of the relationship between pet and owner, humans and animals.
This exhibition is small but definitely worth checking out in person. The realness of these portraits is overwhelming and the love between pet and owner really jumps out and makes you feel all warm inside.
A painter of exquisite technique, Jeong’s work is remarkable for the delicacy of his colours and the mastery of his brushstrokes. His incredible deployment of light becomes a literal expression of the warmth of the fellowship between the girl and her dog.
The Girl and Her Dog will be on until 11th May
Shine Artist London is located at Albemarle Gallery:
49 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4JR
Between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus Tube station
M-F – 10am to 6pm
Sat – 11am to 4pm
Images courtesy of Shine Artist Catalogue and KCM photographer friend