Plastic Playgrounds:
2023 summer

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LA Artcore (120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles, CA 90012)
On View: August 6-August 9, 2023
Opening reception: Sunday, August 6, 4-6 pm
Participating Artists: Hajean Kim, Lumi Lee, Joon Lee, Brandon Park

Everyone has their own playground. Regardless of its size, color, or shape, the playground is a ground for growth and a site of evolution. The conversations one has with the treasures and adventures that lie within the playground expand and reconfigure this setting. Such plasticity is what constantly reshapes one into a distinctive individual. Through abstraction, reinterpretation, and storytelling, the four teenage artists in Plastic Playgrounds explore and reflect upon their abstract artifact called playground. The exhibition reveals both the products and the ongoing processes of the artists’ explorations, suggesting the ever-evolving quality of their playgrounds. Featuring works in a variety of mediums – including works on paper and canvas, dioramas, photography, ceramics, and interactive sculptures – Plastic Playgrounds present relatable stories and invite viewers to reflect on the indefinite evolution of their own playgrounds.

The seemingly different works in Plastic Playgrounds are all connected through the process of defining oneself. Joon Lee questions preconceived ideas through redefinition and personification of his surroundings, as he actively navigates through the phase of adolescence. Based on fictional writings inspired by real-life moments and encounters, the artist’s painting series depicts a child who is critical of Santa and attempts to prematurely come of age. Similarly, Lumi Lee explores the ambiguity she perceives as she navigates her path between childhood and adulthood. Her multidimensional internal landscapes are visualized through imagined geographies drawn from various playgrounds emphasizing the interconnectedness between her identity and the changing environment.

The dioramic works of Brandon Park recount childhood memories as well as the culturally unique environment that he was brought up in. These works sit across from Park’s paintings that highlight both the similarities and the differences between his life and that of his father as a young man immigrating to the United States, specifically, to Koreatown, Los Angeles. Hajean Kim’s process is comparable to that of Park’s in the way he extracts objects, sites, and territories that have shaped his personal, communal, and societal domains. Kim’s works on paper reflect his observations growing up as a foreigner in Ethiopia, the various spaces that he considers as home, as well as imagined spaces that consider possibilities for new adaptations.

Plastic Playgrounds was organized by four student artists of the Exhibition-Making class at Drawwing Cabinet. The class aimed to give students hands-on experience in curating and producing an exhibition. Through this process, students were able to materialize their vision in its entirety and realize the works to their full capacity. Students participated in the entire production process of their first public showcase, including title and theme development, visual identity, and work installation.
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