We selected Maria Y. Park as the winner of the 2002 KAFA Award because we feel that her work combines a high level of ambition and accomplishment in a manner that is original and promising. Using a variety of media and techniques, including acrylic on canvas, collage on paper, and multi-colored tape applied directly to the wall, the young San Francisco-based artist (who was born in Germany) creates fantastic landscapes that are equally indebted to comic books, computer graphics, and contemporary painting. Simultaneous playful and cool, Park’s crisply rendered images of futuristic spacemen, ancient Chinese warriors, and pack of penguins (among many otherwise unrelated elements) are suffused with a slyly ominous streak that bespeaks a deep suspicion about the giddy pleasures provided by the Internet, often at whiplash speeds. As a group, her diverse, multi-scaled works give energetically animated form to the polyglot, sometimes chaotic feel of modern life, in which a seemingly endless glut of images competes for our attention. With a savvy, light-handed touch, Park brings Surrealism up to date, where its strange, psychological twists are dispersed across un-private territory of cyberspace.
Howard N. Fox, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Henry Hopkins, Professor of Art, University of California, Los Angeles
David Pagel, Art Critic, Los Angeles Times, writer and curator
Kakyoung Lee (b. 1975, Korea) received her BFA and MFA from Hong-Ik University, Seoul, as well as an MFA from SUNY-Purchase College, NY. She has exhibited in numerous exhibitions internationally, including at the Drawing Center, New York; Hofstra University, Hempstead; Kunsthalle Bremen, DE; Mass MOCA, North Adams; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Banja Luka, Bosnia; Museum Folkwang, Essen, DE; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Oqbo, Berlin, DE; Queens Museum, New York; and Seoul Arts Center, Korea. She has also held residencies at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, ISCP, the Lower East Side Printshop (NY), Jamaica Center of Art for Learning, MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She has received grants from Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYFA Fellowship, AHL Foundation, and the 2010 recipient of the KAFA Award. Lee’s works are in the public collections at The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; McNay Art Museum, TX; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; and Library of Congress, Washington D.C. among others.