Cha Jong-Rye defies the confines of space and the natural world through her stunning work with wood. With the intention of creating subjective emotions, Cha is careful to let the material steer her practice and express itself in doing so. The natural smoothness of wood takes shape in her hands. She challenges the material to do more than replicate the frozen recollection of a person, place or thing. Making wood fluid, she reminds the observer of its moment of creation, the organic process before the wood was firmed and placed in the world. Lights and shadows dance on the wood’s surface, and the piece comes to life with a humble energy.
Cha’s works have an earthy sensuality that only hints at the possibility of deeper meaning. The surface is a technically masterful manipulation of material. Cha meticulously fits together topographical contours that have no beginning or end. She calls on the ideas of creation, infinity and eternity. The prevalent cone shape in her work references birth in nature where a pointed tip bursts through the earth’s surface and continues to reach upward as it grows. It is a reflection of the human egoic experience of continually reaching to create more and more, greater and greater as we cement our place in the universe.
Cha’s love of organic simplicity began in her native environment of South Korea. She was born in Daejeon in 1968 and received a BFA (1992) and MFA (1996) in Sculpture from Ewha Women’s University. Her work has been extensively exhibited and highly celebrated in South Korea, including most recently at the Museum of Fine Arts of Sunggok. She currently lives and works twenty miles east of Seoul with her husband, the sculptor Lee Jae-Hyo.