10.06.2011

Meditations: History, Faith, Calling | David Chang

Onishi Gallery is pleased to announce its second exhibition of work by David Chang. The exhibition entitled Meditations is a deeply personal exploration of Chang’s triune study of self: his history, his faith, his calling.

The exhibition consists of three large inks on canvas and a series of studies, building up from various texts, ranging from the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, to sacred biblical verses, to the philosophy of Howard Hain.

“David Chang extracts from the ritualized strokes of traditional calligraphy the essence of each phrase. The result is a dynamic, layered, prophetic translation. His work possesses a truly organic, somewhat strange “fence-like” quality—establishing a firm boundary that both keeps you at bay and lures you to peek between the cracks—you sense that something lies behind these weathered boards and planks that first hit your eye as disordered bands of color and shadow. And what lies behind is an ordered dissection of time and place. There is nothing haphazard about Chang’s work. The outward appearance may mislead you, but only in the way a seemingly neglected fence encircles a beautifully manicured garden.

David Chang - Meditations

Perhaps what I find most striking (and a privilege to witness) about this phase of his body of work is that Chang continues to choose conversion—that is he makes the bold choice of eternity over time. With each progression his work becomes more personal, more autobiographical, and perhaps most of all, more confessional. For from a moment of doubt he sows faith, the fruit of which is the freedom to doubt. He reconciles. He strikes. His conversion deepens. He translates the universal language of sense and salvation into a distinct, individual, stroke. Yet there is no idolatry, no worship of self. No, instead Chang sanctifies and consecrates. The process is meditation, and the work, with all due respect, a byproduct of worship and prayer.”—Howard Hain

Born in Seoul, Korea in 1971, David Chang lives and works in New York City. The son of a Korean pastor—who himself descends from a long line of pastors—Chang found himself confronting issues of identity and the role of faith at an early age. Raised in the United States, he began his artistic journey through the strict structure of the eastern scribe, while embracing the tools and techniques from western calligraphy (the Italian humanist documents, the German expressionist stroke, and the English roundhand). He has spent the last decade developing his unique style. Throughout his development he continued to seek out and study with various masters of western calligraphy—most notably, John Stevens, Brody Neuenschwander and Denis Brown.

Chang’s work stems from a calligraphic gesture that is intuitive and spontaneous. He applies his distinct gesture to investigate and interpret text in a contemporary context. The end result is a texture on a page that approaches lyrical abstraction. Chang had his first major solo exhibition this past January at Onishi Gallery in Chelsea. He has participated in several group exhibitions internationally, and in the fall of 2010 he exhibited with the Society of Scribes at the National Arts Club in New York. He currently has an exhibition hanging at Pratt, running through November 14th. His work can also be seen at Calvary-St. George’s Church in Gramercy Park, New York (October 9-30th).