Inside the Studio

Changsoon Oh

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

For the past fifteen years, I have been focused on narratives based on landscape—most often the sea. The landscapes I am enamoured with are beginning points for me—I am not interested in literal depictions of certain places, but rather the feelings and responses I have to those places. Lately, I have been moving away from painting that is directly influenced by landscape, and moving towards pure abstraction in my work. But the themes that those landscapes inspired are still the concerns that are the focus of my practice- light, sound, space, color and movement.

As the nature of my work is abstract, process and material selection play a huge role in my art. Also the physical act of painting itself, and the way that different mediums interact with the canvas both drive and influence how and what I am painting. Currently I am interested in the way that acrylic paints can be used to create transparent expanses of color on surfaces, and the contrast between how those washes pool and move differently on paper versus canvas. I often move between oils and acrylics, and enjoy the effects created by the different mediums, from washes of color to areas of dense and deliberate brushwork. In this way, the medium becomes both site and subject, while the surface is transformed into a landscape of it’s own.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Be true to your own expressions.

Prefer to work with music or in silence? 

It varies—usually I will have the radio tuned to the classical music station, but sometimes I will work in silence.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be? 

Paul Klee’s Landscape with Yellow Birds.  He is one of my favorite painters, and I love his masterful use of color to depict emotion, visual space, and forms both abstract and recognizable.

Who are your favorite writers?

These days I’ve been re-reading the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and also the work of modern Korean authors and poets.