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Sooim Jeong - Artworks
Sooim Jeong - Painting Installation View

Sooim Jeong - Installation View

Trade Gallery
33 Seely Road



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About the Gallery

Sooim Jeong - Installation View

Sooim Jeong - Installation View

Sooim Jeong - Installation View

See through fence 2018  61x41cm  Oil on canvas

See through fence 2018


Oil on canvas

Sooim Jeong

PV 6 September

More information:

Exhibition continues 

14th September - 6th October

Fridays & Saturdays 

And at other times by appointment -

When we met we talked about the almost regal look of some of the characters in your paintings, you mentioned that some of them we're actually a form of self portrait. Can you explain on your interest in painting this figure?

It is an interesting observation but, the characters are not intended to be regal. Some figures are indeed self portraits and some are of other people. I like that viewers can gain different perspectives from my paintings. It’s one of the reasons I love to paint.

Some have said that characters in my paintings like ‘Shallow Water Swimmer’ look as though they are wearing court dress wigs. I dyed my hair once, it was not successful and looked as though I had gone grey at a young age. Curiously at the same time I thought, I must have the most common hair colour in the world, as most people, across all races will one day turn grey. It wasn’t my intention and I have never thought about this seriously, but I suppose since then I have spontaneously used a greyish colour a lot when painting hair. I often draw human figures including myself, but try to realise images on my canvas without too much information and identity. Perhaps my use of greyish paint for hair is a useful tool to disguise identity.

Smoke/Smoking is also a recurring theme, could you talk more about that?

I like to use forms of smoke, drizzle and haze. The mist of a person’s breath on a cold day which looks like an empty speech bubble. These are ‘non-special’, momentary events that disappear. I often compare them with memories. Brutal and sad events as well as happy and mundane ones start as a very raw feeling but eventually fade to something more gentle and distant.

I wonder with the plants and leaves in your work are they from a specific place. They have a tropical feel, but with the regal looking characters I get the sense we could be at Kew Gardens in the 1800s?

I live close to Greenwich Park in South East London and walk through the park each day to get to my studio. As I walk the plants and the trees have become part of the ‘ordinary’ landscape in which I now live. I have a fern, banana and date palm in my garden as well as some other more tropical plants for which I don’t know the names. I also draw less formal planting, the little anonymous weed growing in the top of a wall. I combine unrelated past memories with current ‘non-special’ places on my canvas. These are the images that naturally re-occur in my paintings.

You're originally from Korea, is there anything about the application of paint that you feel is Korean, or influenced by your background. or the other way round is there anything about your work that might seem European to a Korean artist, given your education in the UK?

I do not consciously try to paint in either a ‘Korean’ or ‘European’ style, however there have of course been influences from both my time here in the UK and when I first started painting in Korea. I learned calligraphy for some years when I was a teenager in Korea and sometimes I notice subtle similarities to calligraphy in the way I use the brush.


I have been here in the UK almost 10 years now, and I feel the environment, colours and my life here as a foreigner, now influences my work more than my time on my MA at Chelsea. Some of my friends in Korea have said my painting has changed since I moved to the UK. I think the images and colours that I apply to the canvas have been influenced from my physical surroundings and so now seem foreign to them in some way.

Exhibition Supported by Arts Council England

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