In 1983 Calvin Tomkins wrote of the 71 year old Romare Bearden: "… (H)e can afford to let color dictate shape and memory breed form." At the time Bearden was composing from his mind's eye watercolor/collages based upon childhood memories of "that lost country of his imagination": the landscapes of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Sueim Koo has set herself upon a similar trajectory, her "lost country" being the Korean hometown of her teenage years. Sueim's work is a record and affirmation of her progress along this challenging and rewarding journey.
Leonard Stokes/SUNY Purchase, October 2012
Sueim Koo is showing a series of large pieces of mixed media on canvas. Her work fits into the Abstract Expressionism style, emotions recollected in tranquility. Her works sport lengthy titles taken from her diaries; she calls the collection "My Diary in Landscapes". Koo's unannounced bits of collage are shyly inserted into the compositions but underplayed, surprising when you grasp what you're seeing. The brilliantly colored formations, unexpectedly pulling the spectator into an unlooked-for depth. The pieces are suffused with a gentle nostalgia.
Phebe Shinn/Art Observer "Weekly Press", March 2013
Korean KTC TV Broadcast Interview : https://www.dropbox.com/s/x9eee9fv2h50mhz/INT_Sue%20Im%20Koo.mp4?dl=0
The Artist Catalogue Interview "Volume 4 Issue 4, Winter 2015"
BlastingNews : Art and soul: An interview with artist Sueim Koo
The Newspaper of the University of Georgetown (The Hoya)
Borrowing lines from her journal writing, Koo builds on the concept of reminiscence by using mixed media to visually represent key moments charged with emotion and reflection from her life.
“These memories came alive beyond geographic imagery, each of them holds its own story,” Koo said. “I created dream-like images based on the sentences of my personal journal, which I have kept since I was a teenager.”
Koo covers her canvas with rice paper and adds rich blocks of color to create phantom-like, layered works. She titles each piece with words from her journal, imbuing her works with memory and emotion.
“I feel that my memories are filtered and purified by time, appearing as very strong, unique and significant images,” Koo said. “As I do this, I feel as if I have crawled back to the moment I wrote in my journal.”
Borrowing lines from her journal writing, Sueim Koo builds on the theme of reminiscence by visually recreating key moments of emotion and inner thought from her past. Her collage and mixed media rest on canvas, and along with their streaming poetic titles, trace distant mental connections.
“LOOKING OVER TWINKLING STARS IN A SUMMER DAY is a visual prayer. The lustrous, dominating yellow spears the viewer and opens conversation with a spiritual presence. Numerous, exciting colors and shapes actively populate the centre of the picture where they get bossed around by striking, dark green, hairy masses that constitute an essential, contrasting element and main focal point. Some tumble down the right side of the cliff providing movement and direction in this sincere and beautiful art work that offers freedom, recovery and absolution to those who allow it” — GALLERY RING