<Spanish Bay>


On rice paper supports Ehja Back builds a secure foundation of compositional and color resolutions that belies the seeming fragility of the medium. In fact the process is technically as durable as the aesthetic antecedents in the post war American abstract paintings that the images bear kinship to. As the surface of the painting is built up one can still see through to other layers and past positionings - a revelation of path as much as struggle - adjusting color to textural considerations in the process and adding a sense of solidity. The overriding conceit of the abstract expressionists was a certainty that the act of engaging the visual can bring revelation if not resolution to the larger emotional issues we confront. In each small pictorial resolution the painter and viewer are given respite if not moved forward along a path. As the painting process continues visually compelling moments are clarified as new,sometimes deeper, questions are constructed. Baek's very personal synthesis of lyrical abstraction and abstract expressionism opens at times and the source from the natural world that the images use as a springboard are revealed but rarely at the expense of the painting process. Her gift and spirit are revealed in these fundamentally abstract canvases as is her tenacity and prolific commitment to a search within the sublime. In several pieces Back pulls a number of small resolutions together into a conversation made of disparate statements. The combine becomes a singular work prompting the viewer to realize that the search is not linear or chronological but at times turns back upon itself and can itself become the subject. While the surface is in fact fragmented the component parts are not mere pixels or straw to bricks. The image maintains an aesthetic integrity of its own as well. We see an initial, perhaps naive, belief that personal search based in color and mark can bring resolution rewarded when that approach is constructed of honest, clear commitment.

- Gerald Swigger (Art Instructor at Moorpark College)