One to Watch

Se Rin Park creates abstracted, layered landscapes

Se Rin Park’s paintings are windows to imaginative landscapes. Inspired by dreams and her everyday surroundings –a window, shrubbery, light– Se Rin depicts the world through planes of various colors and opacities. She is interested in the limits of realism and representation, reducing familiar objects to a series of dynamic lines, gestures, and forms.

Se Rin was born in Seoul, South Korea and now splits her time between Seoul and London. She received an MFA and BA in Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art in London. In 2014, Se Rin was shortlisted for Saatchi Art’s New Sensations Prize. She participated in the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists’ SIM Residency in Reykjavík in 2015 and has been featured in publications including Aesethetica Magazine. Her works have been exhibited in South Korea, London, Iceland, France, and the US.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

When I look at the curtain or window blinds at home, I sometimes imagine the scenery. I start by covering the entire canvas with up to 6 layers of thin oil paint. I over-paint, change my mind, and change color tones and gestures until I find some sense of balance. I seek some feeling of harmony.

I create an imaginative multi-layered world. Words such as green, curtain, light, color, touch, feel and rhythm help me to paint. The subject of my work is to paint imaginative landscapes. I take inspiration from familiar dreams, and I like expressing them in my own visual language. The paintings reflect my response to nature and actual physical characteristics of a familiar place.

In my work, the shape of window is important. The window curtains or blinds interplay between the spectator and the artist. Sometimes the window curtains or blinds critically examine the painting’s obvious object, and reflects the limits of realism and representation. The painting explores the dynamics of concealment and revelation, which are apparently contradictory things. Palm leaves and flowers stand in for brush marks or the hand directly. Similar shifts and transformations are in constant motion in both subtle and vivid ways.

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

“Everything is feeling, everything is real. Color brings me joy.” – Sonia Delaunay.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

It depends on my mood. Sometimes with music, it makes for a general balance and rhythm in my works. However sometimes silence makes me so focused. 

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

Maybe one of Mark Rothko’s paintings. His work is so emotional, spiritual, and religious. 

Who are your favorite writers?

Nowadays I read casual novels. I paint dreamy landscape so imaginative worlds and novels give me inspiration. Sometimes I make a story inside the painting. Making a story clarifies the subject in painting. Making a story illuminates my journey of self-discovery. As I make a story, my works has sustained, challenged and expanded. Apparently the story and work are connected so theoretical approaches help to bring out the real meaning of the work. For example, in terms of figurative paintings, we can make a story straightforward because figurative works are easier for viewers to read and analyze. On the other hand, abstract paintings are more difficult to read because of their obscure symbols. Mostly these stories come from historical context or personal experience. It can be fiction or a real story.  

About the Author

Jessica McQueen is Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at