Queens Artist Has His Eye On You
By Michael Lanza
When Eung Ho Park watched the L.A. riots unfold
on television in 1992, something awoke in him.
"I began to realize as an Asian American artist
that I had to figure out where I stand," Park
|Eung Ho Park is a featured artist at the Y Gallery in Jackson Heights.
the Korean born Jackson Heights resident and former
textile designer, the event summed up years of
racial frustration he had experienced first hand
growing up in Oregon.
"Racial issues were something that's not talked
about," Park said. "The L.A. riots gave me a voice.
To create a conversation - that was really important
to me at the time, it still is."
Park made his debut that year with an installation
in Portland, Ore., "Let's Talk Pillow Talk," a
juxtaposition of pop culture and social commentary
influenced by the riots.
And although his work since hasn't taken the immediacy
and reactionary character of his piece on the
riots, Park's provocative installations still
carry the weight of that first realization that
his work could inspire discussion and open minds.
And that provocative nature has put the art community
on notice. Since 2000 Park has been featured in
five solo exhibits and 36 group exhibits across
the country. It also garnered him a 2008 grant
selection from the Queens Council on the Arts
that will include an exhibit at Capital One Bank.
|I’m Looking at You - 2006, painted bottle caps, epoxy resin, 62x105 inches.
tapestries of common found objects like spoons,
bowling balls and bottle caps, literally bent,
shaped and reborn into new contexts, have given
him the means to spark debate about the human
condition and our social environment, he said.
"What you see on the street is evidence of our
social condition at this moment," Park said. "I
install the artwork in such a way that people
start to ask questions. There's no room for escape
- it's almost suffocating - you have to deal with
In Parks' 2006 piece, "I'm Looking at You," he
used hundreds of common bottle caps painted over
with retinal patterns to create a wall of artificial
eyes, demanding the viewers attention in a not-so-subtle
way and forcing them to think about the odd juxtaposition
of subject and materials.
He plans to expand the idea this year for his
Queens Council on the Arts Capital One Bank exhibit
beginning Sept. 11 at 82nd Street and 37th Avenue.
The exhibit will feature a window installation
of nearly 1,000 bottle cap eyes.
|Park will host a free bottle cap eye worshop during the Jackson Heights Film and Rood Festival on Sept. 13.
the immediacy of his images and symbols and the
larger-than-life scale of his installations, Park
said he has developed a more subtle approach to
how his viewers should interpret his work.
"I'm not trying to demand anything," Park said.
"I'm not trying to provoke anyone. I'm satisfied
if they can just ask why this artist is doing
what he's doing."
But Park remains humble and committed to his community
despite his recent success.
He will teach a free bottle cap eyes workshop
at the Jackson Heights Film & Food Festival on
Sept. 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Jackson Heights
Garden School Courtyard.
"I don't have a grandiose goal." Park said. "I
just want to make art. That's my goal. Art has
a meaning to me. I just (want to) create a dialogue."
For more information on Park's work, visit www.ygallerynewyork.com.