Sihn Ja An is a native of Korea but moved to Chestertown, Maryland in 1969 to join her husband, Dr. Tai Sung An, who was a professor at Washington College until his death in 1999. Throughout her career as an artist, her paintings have mirrored the worlds she inhabits; a synthesis of eastern simplicity and discipline and Western spontaneity and fluidity. “Oriental art,” she explains, “is a way of life, requiring absolute discipline.” Nevertheless, over the last twenty years she has worked to broaden her style and incorporate the experiences, memories and artistic studies gained while living on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Sihn Ja now delights in “breaking all the rules.” Her paintings are composed of sumi-e ink, charcoal, pastel and watercolor executed on rice paper. Although they are primarily abstract in nature, they clearly evoke both her worlds creating universal forms and rhythms easily identified by the viewer.
“Art has given me so much. It has provided refuge and comfort. Moving to the United States altered the course of my life from history to art. Giving up my mother tongue, my writing, my teaching, I felt I had become crippled. I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings so much through my painting that painting developed into my strongest language. I am constantly thinking of where my art stands and where my art is leading me.” For Sihn Ja An art is a living collaboration.