Keysook Geum’s exhibition, “Dream Weaver,” at Andrew Bae Gallery is exquisite. Even before entering the gallery, elegant wire structures in the shape of women’s dresses are visible from outside, luring me in with only a sample of what was to come.
Upon entering, I wondered which of the twenty-four beautiful sculptures to approach first. All are equally radiant, evoking women’s wear, such as long dresses and Hanboks, Korean traditional dress. The fiery red color emanating in “Red Jangot” is enticing, but the movement in “Moving up in Gray”—a lavish dress that peels off the wall, appearing to greet approaching visitors—is most captivating.
Many of the pieces displayed come alive because the three-dimensional dresses are shaped to suggest the contours of a woman’s body. It is also because of the materials used: wire and beads appear light and whimsical, expressing movement and sway. Surrounded by meticulously beaded dresses and listening to the classical music playing in the background, I consider the occasion to don such an opulent, but sophisticated look.
Displaying the sculptures against a wall or backdrop with proper lighting is a commendable curatorial decision that emphasizes the materials, which are striking. Up close, the wire sculptures reveal their laborious constructions, appearing like three-dimensional “knitted webbing,” as the artist puts it. Such a medium is also transparent, giving the sculptures a weightless quality and contributing to the distinct shadows. The beads seen throughout each piece add a delicate touch as they sparkle from the reflecting light.
Above all, this show creates an experience that is both aesthetically beautiful and culturally relevant. American society is increasingly casual; the occasion to dress in an evening gown and heels are few. Here you can, in your mind’s eye: creating an imaginative narrative among the sculptures. At the same time, the exhibition successfully brings together several pieces reflecting Asian aesthetics, while others are timeless across cultures. For these reasons, “Dream Weaver” creates a lively experience and leaves a lasting impression. (Amy Haddad)
Through December 24 at Andrew Bae Gallery, 300 West Superior
Elliot J. Reichert is a Chicago-based curator, critic, and editor. He is a currently Curator of Contemporary Art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana Unversity, and Hatch Projects Curatorial Resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition. Formerly, he was Art Editor of Newcity and Assistant Curator at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. His writing has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Newcity.