Sungsook Setton, a Korean-American artist who works in the style of Chinese brush painting, visited SJC Long Island Tuesday, Feb. 25, to discuss the inspiration behind her work. An exhibition of her pieces ran from Jan. 25 through Feb. 27 in O’Connor Hall’s Board Room Gallery.
“A young man working toward his Ph.D. in the Stony Brook University music department came to me about 15 years ago to work together on some multimedia pieces,” Setton said. “He asked me if I could paint his music, and that really changed my art form.
“Most of the work here (in the gallery) is inspired by him and different music,” Setton continued, explaining that she feels like a musician whose brush is her instrument. “Before he came to me, I didn’t do abstract work.”
Setton started training under Chinese and Korean artists in 1981. She began her own journey a decade later, studying German, English and American art. Her work, which reflects eastern and western influences, has been widely exhibited in Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, Korea and the United States.
“My art emphasizes empty space, or the non-painted area,” said Setton, who’s main subject is nature. “This concept comes from yin and yang, as well as daoism, or the continuity between people and nature. The more I paint, the more I find the empty space and its simplicity important. You can communicate without language.”
Setton wrote a book called “The Spirit of the Brush,” which offers a modern look at Chinese brush painting.
Check out some of her work below, as it appeared in the boardroom this winter.