by Nicholas Stevens
Kyoungtack Hong’s painting Library-Mt. Everest (2014) depicts exactly what its title suggests: a few bookshelf cubes and decorative objects cluster around the edge of the canvas, with a photorealistic image of Mount Everest in sunlit glory at the center. The work plays with the conventions of Korean chaekgeori, a kind of 19th-century painted screen on which artists depicted the contents of a scholar’s study. The musical experiences offered by Ji Aeri, a virtuoso of the gayageum — a zither-like instrument — and percussionist Kim Woongsik at a recent concert involved a process not unlike that of taking in Hong’s painting: as one moves from the outer portions of a work toward its heart, simplicity yields to sublimity.