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Painting (MA)

Ji Won Cha

Ji Won Cha (b. 1997, South Korea) is an artist based in London. In 2020 she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Painting, and is now graduating the MA painting programme at The Royal College of Art. 

Ji Won Cha in her studio

My practice focuses on re-articulating the sublime in the 21st century. This re-articulation concentrates on what evokes the feeling of sublimity and finds a way to process these complex emotions of uncertainties that hold a place both in our personal lives and in a bigger construction of society.

“The Anxious sublime” is what I have named the topic of my practice. It is a way to capture the intricate emotions that swell up during this elongated moment of anticipation where one hopes for the future to arrive. The “future” that is supposed to happen. With the contemporary world overflowing with excesses of information at a digital hyperspeed, our coping mechanism is degraded, and we lose our ability to differentiate fact from fiction. The information that we access accumulates and forms a massive cloud of data, yet we still cannot find a definite answer. What is destined to occur in this ever-changing world? What is it that we are so eagerly waiting for to happen? The feelings that escalate when we encounter these questions are what I try to portray in my works.

Emphasizing the circumstances of “not knowing” and of “loss of control”, my paintings are dedicated to capturing the contradicting feelings of hope and despair, constantly questioning the existence of “fate”. While my imagery is derived from landscape references, the created sceneries are beyond this world, in a land of fantasy. The painting’s prolific dialogue is dedicated to capturing the co-existence of divergent sentiments with the works finding seduction in darkness, distress in beauty, tranquillity in chaos, and courage in destruction. Using images that represent heightened senses of experiences, my practice details the anticipation for the “future” that is supposed to happen, but which never arrives. These futures collapse into the present and the future always remains out of reach, to be idealized, anticipated, but forever uncertain.

painting by Ji Won Cha, work between abstract and figuration. Explosive bright flame in the center which floats on emerald water
Blind belief, save her tearsoil on canvas, 180 x 290 cm
abstraction of an explosive volcano with royal blue background colour.
May you rest nowoil on canvas, 180 x 145 cm
icy blue abstracted shapes with a bright yellow corner, hint of sharp shapes of red and purple in the middle
Loop around youoil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm
bloom of a purple iris flower abstracted. Dreamy yellow and vibrant orange background with misty purple shapes along the flowers
In the midst of timeoil on canvas, 160 x 120 cm
abstraction of a chandelier depicted in pink and purple shades. The background is greenish blue with rough mark makings.
Wishful thinkingoil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm
Amber glass chandelier with dreamy purple background seen from below
Entangledoil on canvas, 160 x 120 cm
abstract blue wave crashed with icy streaks of light
Fearless is my heartoil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm
dreamy horse carousel with three main horses, contains a lot of bright lights and sparkles
Memories last forever in dreamsoil on canvas, 145 x 180 cm
abstracted waterfall with a lot of mark makings.  Waterfall goes down the centre of the work and occupies a moment in the bottom
Hold me please, I don't want to falloil on canvas, 170 x 130 cm
amber tinted work with an abstracted while flower in the centre with rhythmic thin colourful brushstrokes
Dancing through fearoil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm