Kyoung Ae Cho is engaged in a conversation with nature. Nature, she asserts, has been conducting experiments into processes and metamorphosing natural materials for millions of years. But because Cho wants to explore nature’s rhythm in our culture and our interaction with nature, her natural world encompasses civilization and technologies – the full array of human interventions – and her fascination with recycling extends to man-made material.
Each work that Cho produces is the result of an intimate dialogue between artist and materials. The conversation may begin as she gather recycled organic matter and collects man-made objects of little value, or it may commence with a sudden discovery: of the beauty in a corn leaf, for example. Leaves and flowers that have fallen to earth are dried, ironed to fix pigment, flattened: processes that Cho views as ceremonial transitions from one stage of being to another. As she prepares her materials, Cho is attentive to the ways they reveal, through shape, pattern, color, texture, scale, nature’s language of process and change. Patience and the passage of time enable her to discern her role in their evolution or completion.
Cho often refers her works as collaboration: collaboration between the material/nature and herself. For Cho, a successful collaboration not only extends the natural processes inherent in the materials, prolonging their existence and meaning through a kind of rebirth, it also leaves her enriched. Each meditative, repetitive gesture, each cut, stitch and placement is part of the experience of merging the natural and the man-made, the physical and the spiritual.
The results of Cho’s investigation take many forms: fiber objects, sculpture, and installations that involve processes of sewing, stitching, piecing, fusing, laminating, woodcarving, photography, and so on. The merger of fibers and sculpture comes naturally in Cho’s work.
Cho’s work has been exhibited in national and international venues including Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN; Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ; Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, CO; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; The Gallery at Montalvo, Saratoga, CA; University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu; Madison Art Center, WI; Textilemuseum, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Wisconsin Academy, Madison, WI; Reed Whipple Cultural Center Gallery, Las Vegas, NV; South Band Regional Museum of Art, IL; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Sheehan Gallery, Walla Walla, WA; Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Evanston Art Center, IL; Carnegie Art Museum of Oxnard, CA; National Museum of Modern Art, Kwachon, South Korea.
Cho has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Wisconsin Arts Board Award Fellowship, the UWM Foundation and Graduate School Research Award, the Lillian Elliott Award, and the Quilt National Award of Excellence and the Pollock-Krasner Grant.
Cho’s work has been reviewed and published in numerous magazines and newspapers such as Fiberarts Magazine; Surface Design Journal; American Craft; Detroit Monthly Magazine; Monthly CRART (South Korea); Art & Craft (South Korea); New York Times; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; San Jose Mercury News, Grand Rapids Press; Kansas City Star; Metro Times (Detroit); Eccentric (Detroit); Detroit Free Press.
Cho’s works has been also published in numerous publications such as American Quilt: The Democratic Art (Sterling Publisher); Masters: Art Quilts (Lark Books); Contemporary Quilt Art: An Introduction and Guide (Indiana University Press); Quilt National 2003: The Best of Contemporary Quilts (Lark Books); Contemporary Quilt: Quilt National 1997 (Lark Books); No: Nouvel Object (South Korea); Fiberarts Design Book IV, VI & VII (Lark Books); Art Textiles of the World: USA (Telos Art Publishing, England) and the monograph, Portfolio Collection : Kyoung Ae Cho (Telos Art Publishing, England.)
Kyoung Ae Cho (born 1963, in Onyang, South Korea) has earned her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and BFA from Ducksung Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea. Cho has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and has been teaching at the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee since 1999, where she serves currently as Professor in the Department of Art and Design.