Nara Park’s newest body of work, Presence, features free-standing sculptures composed of tiny painted Styrofoam beads imitating grains of sand. The microbeads form masses evoking markers or monuments. Park explores how monuments and sculpture mark space, time, and place. She considers how their “presence” serves to replace or remind us of the physical presence of a person or an event.
Park dyed the beads with acrylic paint and glued them together with archival adhesive. The accumulation of beads in multiple colors creates the illusion of disintegrating surfaces or the build-up of lichen, mold, or coral. Upon close examination of the works, the grains are visible and appear to coalesce in organic growth patterns. Most of the sculptures are hollow emphasizing that there is a void under the surface of a monumental structure.
Hollowness coexists with bulk, physical lightness with visual weight, emptiness yet immanence. They are only surfaces, but they suggest solids. In contrast to the monument as symbol of strength, stability, and permanence, Park’s monuments reference the fragility of life and the passage of time. From tiny particles and illusion emerges a larger whole, glowing with individuality and undeniable presence.
“My work investigates our relationship to the landscape we live in and the imprint we leave in it when we are gone.”- Nara Park
About the Artist: Nara Park is a sculptor and installation artist based in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.F.A. in General Fine Arts followed by an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she received the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award by the International Sculpture Center and Henry Walters Traveling Fellowship. She is a recipient of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, the Young Artist Award from the Trawick foundation and the Hamiltonian Artists Fellowship. Park’s work has been on exhibit at numerous venues including Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Phillips Collection, Grounds for Sculpture, Baltimore/Washington International Airport and American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Her work has been featured in the Sculpture magazine, The Washington Post and Artnet News. Her public collections include The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
About the VisArts Studio Fellowship: The VisArts Studio Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a dynamic individual artist or collaborative artist team to create a new body of work, evolve an existing body of work, or develop a project in a stimulating, supportive environment over a six month period. Studio space is provided free of charge. Artists receive a $500.00 per month stipend. The Studio Fellowship offers the gift of time and space to two artists and/or collaborative artist teams each year to experiment and realize new work. The VisArts Studio Fellows present their work in solo exhibitions at the end of their respective fellowships.