Korean ceramics artist Wookjae Maeng creates strange animals and figures that feel both familiar, yet disconcertingly outside the realm of reality. Yet, the artist’s work may be more tethered to our own world than one would imagine. In a statement, he details his thought process in engaging with the viewer, saying one “not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged or senses other than sight are stimulated.”
“In our environment, numerous creatures live in harmony,” he says, in a statement. “Yet there are other creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right due to human classification and negligence. I would like to express the nature of the relationship between human and other creatures-a relationship that, in other to thrive, demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural, for example, and an awareness and empathy for less visible creatures. In my work I hope to provide an opportunity-however brief-for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it.”
The artist, who has a Ph.D., has studied in his native Korea, Sweden, and beyond. Likewise, his work has been shown across the globe.