Originally from South Korea, Yoonjee Kwak is an Artist and Educator. She was one of the resident artists at Pottery Northwest, Seattle WA in 2021-2022 after finishing her 2-year long-term residency at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena MT in 2017-2019. Her works have been shown in various national and international exhibitions including in Korea, Turkey, Italy, etc. as well as many states in the USA. She earned her MFA in ceramics at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY in 2014 and her BFA in ceramics and glass at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea in 2012. In 2020, she was one of the recipients of the James Renwick Alliance Chrysalis Award for emerging artists in Ceramics as well as the Emerging Artist Award in Ceramics Monthly Magazine in 2016. She currently is a Ceramic Faculty in the Visual Arts Department at the Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor CT, 2022~.
The body of work is composed of sculptural vessels. I use this form to represent human beings as iconic symbols of Korean culture. In Korea, when people talk about someone’s personality, we often use “vessel” as a metaphor for one’s spirit of tolerance. For instance, when we talk about someone who is very generous or broad-minded, we say, “His vessel is big”. I explore this theme through forms that are derived from minimalism, nature, and geometry. The work incorporates organic and architectural elements into the structure of my open vessels and uses the shape as a metaphor for people who interact with their external character. I believe when the vessel of a person is open, they can have true connections with their environment. Therefore, my open vessel-shaped pieces indicate various depths of personal relationships. In addition, by employing natural and organic arboreal shapes, I intend to demonstrate relationships with nature. I use these natural occurrences in nature as metaphorical and literal references to represent human relationships. As nature cannot exist without the interaction of its many component parts, man cannot exist alone. In this sense, human relationships resemble the laws of nature.