Signals that Invoke 100 Years of Blue Milk: Park Hyun Gi & Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz
October 25 - December 1, 2018

Artist Talks & Reception: Thursday, October 25, 3:00 - 6:00pm

Signals That Invoke 100 Years of Blue Milk features new works by Park Hyun Gi and Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz. Both artists use cultural folklore and the socio-political histories of their respective heritages, Korean/American and Mexican/Indigenous America, as primary sources for works that explore the complexities of their intersectional identities and the contemporary possibilities of faith healing traditions. Both artists maintain multidisciplinary practices that incorporate different modes of engagement such as performance based sculpture, writing, installation, drawing, etc. to develop personal mythos rooted in history and personal memoir.

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Park Hyun Gi’s work is strongly influenced by her bicultural identity as a Korean woman growing up in America. She creates performances as well as sculptural installations based on her research into the relationship, differences, and interplay between ceremonial rituals and the performance of everyday routine. In her performances she creates fictionalized rituals that incorporate both the ideas of traditional Eastern religious ceremonies and Western new age health trends (oil pulling, juicing, kombucha, etc.) - some of which whitewash and capitalize off of traditional healing practices of Eastern cultures. These performances are aimed at exercising ritualistic acts as a healing process focused on the artist’s personal traumas as well as speaking to the broader cultural gaps that exist in the relationships between immigrant parents and their children or the oppression of Eastern cultures in America.

Hyun Gi crafts experimental incense (from herbs, blood, spit, etc.) to utilize during a performance as cleansing of a space, a measurement of time, and consumption of the burned incense. The use of talismans, as objects created with intention and energy, are activated by consuming and transferring energies. She creates her own talismans, with an online generator to produce sigils from charged words or phrases, such as emails detailing her disownment from her parents. The resulting sigils are then tattooed onto oranges. The oranges serve as altarpieces and also reference other diverse religious-adjacent ideas such as the contemporary Western practice of “juicing” for health benefits, the use of an orange’s outer skin as an ideal object for tattoo artists to practice on, and the orange’s feminine resemblance to a breast and the related suggestion that the ceremonial devotional object is also a kind of surrogate mother.

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Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz practice synthesizes Indigenous oral traditions and ethnographic botanical histories as a foundation to discuss sociopolitical infrastructure in the America’s. Ricardo blends folklore and ethnobotany as a means to discuss the difficult histories navigated via marginalized groups affected by colonialism. Their intention is to disseminate an intersectional dialogue that accesses past, present, and future timelines to locate modes for metaphysical reconciliation. Ricardo’s work reflects on the issues of the everyday and is meant to represent a fluid curricula that encourages community building and reengagement with the natural world.

Grounded in research, prose, personal memoir, and the philosophical teachings of curanderismo (Mexican faith healing) Ricardo initiates a conversation as to how does healing manifest in the 21th century. With a studio practice rooted in drawing works manifest in a variety of media such as images, texts, physical gestures initiated via the artist’s body, archived documentation, charms, garments, and ritual objects.

Ricardo is focused on the development of a contemporary mythos and symbology that dissolves post-colonial European constructs that perpetuate invisible barriers built through a history of discrimination and subversive socio-political tactics. The participants in the narrative are the materialized consciousness of fauna and flora as they motion through latent instinct to act as caretakers for perpetually occurring physical and psychic systems. Due to the genetic abilities of fauna and flora to adapt, heal, mutate, and populate it extends their durability and roles in engaging disruptions within multiple dimensions and periods of time. The disruptions occur as psychic cages, hauntings, climate change phenomena, and radical impulses of other organisms motivated to pollute. The characters actions occur alongside fluid personal impetus to engage in nuanced gestures such as affection, leisure, and mischief. Their day to day is meant to preserve and illustrate the history of indigenous communities whose routine emphasized biodiversity and relationship with their surrounding ecology.

About the Artists

Rooted in drawing, Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz works in a variety of media such as painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, ceramic, printmaking, and sound. His work is a continued investigation of the cultural ethnography of the Southwest and its indigenous / marginalized groups presented through allegory. Ricardo’s artwork reflects a deep interest in censored cultural histories, the human experience, personal memoir, and socio-political infrastructure. Ricardo is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and fellowships including a 2018 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship and a 2017 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and has participated in numerous artist residencies including Oxbow (Saugatuck, Michigan), the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, Vermont), and the Arrowmont school of Art and Crafts (Gatlinburg, Tennessee). Ruiz’s work has been included in over 100 exhibitions with recent solo exhibitions at Big Medium Gallery (Austin, Texas) and 1708 Gallery (Richmond, Virginia).

Park Hyun Gi is a Korean American artist born in Bryan, TX. Park obtained her BFA in Sculpture + Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University and has been awarded recent national and international residencies including Penland School of Craft (Penland, North Carolina), MACAO (Milan, Italy), Bark Residency (Athens, Greece), Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, Vermont), and BUFU Eyedream Residency, Eyebeam, (Brooklyn, NY). Her performances and installations have been featured in numerous exhibitions at venues in New York, Japan, South Korea, and Italy. Park lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.