Saturday, August 29, 2009

Han Young Sil 한영실

When we asked Han Young Sil what her first impression of America was, she quickly answered “liberty of my hand”. She was contrasting the education she had received in Korea with its countless lists of rules about what she couldn’t do and the freedom to explore her ideas which she felt in the Art Academy in San Francisco. The four years she spent in America were crucial to the maturation of her sculptural ideas and her first solo exhibition on her return to Korea revealed a confidant and powerful artist who showed a range of pieces based on human figures struggling with their emotions.

Maybe her life as an artist and gallery owner was preordained because she was born in Busan to a family which was just setting up a business importing and selling art supplies. Han Young Sil’s earliest memories are of walking home from school through the rice fields and then playing amidst the stacks of paper and shelves of colors. Her family was totally supportive when she entered Ewha Woman’s University and received her BFA and MA. At this point she set off for San Francisco and spent four years working to explore the expressive qualities of clay and to develop a personal viewpoint. On her return to Korea she married and started a family while also managing to spend a period of time in Paris as an independent artist.

Now she owns and operates a gallery in the idyllic arts community called Heyri Art Valley north of Seoul. When we visited on a sunny winter afternoon, she took time from gallery duties to show us her studio space which is located on the floor over the gallery. Many full size figures were standing about in various stages of completion and as we wandered among them we discussed the difficulties of combining clay with other materials, the metaphors which the wing like structures in the torsos signify, and the likelihood of weather damage to clay figures left out in the Seoul weather. We gained the impression that Han Young Sil is a mature artist with a desire to explore ever farther and a sense of impatience for the next development in her career.


1988 M.F.A., The Academy of Art College, San Francisco, California

1985 M.A., Graduate School of Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea

1983 B.A., Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea


2005 Hakgojae Art Center, Seoul, SK

2001 Jong-Ro Gallery, Seoul, SK

1997 Art Center, Seoul, SK

1995 Kum-Ho Museum, Seoul, SK

1993 Espace Bateau Lavoir, Paris, France

1990 Hyun-Dai Gallery, Seoul, SK


1998-99 Instructor, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, SK

1996-98 Instructor, National Poly-Technique University, Seoul, SK

1994-95 Instructor, Mokwon University, DaeJeon, SK


Address:1652-345 Buphung-ri, Tahnhyun-meun, Paju, Kyunggi-do, South Korea











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