On Saturday 30th September 2017 Goldmark opened its second exhibition of pots by Lee Kang-hyo, who had been setting aside the very best of his work for three years in preparation for the show. Lee is recognised to be one of the finest potters presently working in Korea and has an international reputation to match. The results of those three years of making are truly breathtaking.
Although Lee’s work has a modern twist he is deeply steeped in Korean tradition. The beauty of his pots is undeniable: spontaneous and direct, generous of form and naturally inventive. Every vessel, large or small, is a work of art; each as individual as a fingerprint and perfectly weighted, a relaxed and confident marriage of style and function.
David Whiting, renowned writer and art critic, has penned a beautiful tribute to Lee’s extraordinary work for the exhibition catalogue, a brief excerpt of which is quoted below.
Lee Kang-hyo’s second Goldmark exhibition is probably his strongest show to date, a rich collection of forms; small jugs wiped with hakame, others crisply faceted and mottled by the kiln. There are the quietest bottles, cylindrical or paddled, and dark plates with breezy willow decoration. There are freely made conical vases with horizontal incising and splayed bases, which show how successfully Lee can give Korean tradition a contemporary voice. Large relaxed bowls, like sagged baskets, are warped and squeezed into new states of plasticity.
He has made generous runs of particular shapes; broad flat-form slab pieces with motional layers of slip spread and rubbed over, so-called ‘oval’ bottles with rapid calligraphic marking, full-bellied globular pots, and series of tactile cups, tea bowls and beakers, some swathed in hakame. All show how variously Lee Kang-hyo journeys within an idea or theme.
He says “Making art is like setting off to travel to places to find peace in the mind”. It is wonderful that we too can partake in this remarkable voyage.
David Whiting, 2017