Wook Jae Maeng studied ceramics in Korea and Sweden and in 2015 he completed his PhD at Kookmin University, Seoul. He has had solo shows in Korea, Canada and Denmark and has been exhibiting globally since 2001, predominantly in Asia and North America. He has won multiple prizes for his meticulous sculptural works, and has undertaken many international residencies in esteemed centres for ceramics. He currently lectures in ceramics in Kyunghee University and Kookmin University.
“I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories. In this regard, ‘stimulus’ plays an import role in the expression of my work and in its perception by the viewer. Visually or sensually appropriate stimuli evoke curiosity in the viewer and their desire to grasp the inner meanings of the work. Within this process the viewer not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged, or senses other than sight are stimulated. This three-dimensional appreciation – which engages the viewer both physically and sensually – I believe conveys the message of a work on a deeper level.
In our environment, numerous creatures live in harmony. Yet there are other creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right, due to human classification and negligence. I would like to express the nature of the relationship between human and other creatures – a relationship that, in other to thrive, demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural, for example, and an awareness and empathy for less visible creatures. In my work, I hope to provide an opportunity, however brief, for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even if he continues his daily existence indifferent to it.”