What do you see when you look into a kaleidoscope? Did you know that the colors and symmetrical patterns – which are thought to represent balance and harmony – may actually symbolize growth and change in some global cultures, where kaleidoscopes can be used as tools for meditation and self-reflection?
Experience “A Kaleidoscope of Lines/Forms/Patterns,” on view now through June 6 in the Materials for the Arts (MFTA) Gallery, located within the MFTA Warehouse at 33-00 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City.
Viewers have been captivated by this thought-provoking and conversation-making, solo exhibition of multi-media works by Bayside artist Sui Park, which she painstakingly created during her MFTA residency.
Visitors can look at everyday objects in new ways through her colorful, three-dimensional installations and sculptures resembling cells, molecules, and organic forms – often made with industrial materials, like monofilament cable sleeving and zip ties. Using tons of imagination, Park also incorporated reems of receipt paper, take-out sauce containers, plastic cups, cardboard, baskets, and even an aquarium tank, from the MFTA warehouse.
“Every day of my residency at MFTA, has been an invaluable experience with great expectations,” said Park, who is often inspired by “nature’s ability to encourage us to pause and discover unexpected ideas and memories.”
“Every day, I met with a new group of people, and [got] supplies of new materials. Endless support of MFTA staff has helped my fruitful creation of new ideas and artwork,” she added.
As an MFTA Artist-in-Residence since January 2023, Park has enjoyed free workspace and unlimited access to the vast array of donated supplies in their 35,000 square foot warehouse, to upcycle and incorporate into her abstract creations that seem to express static yet dynamic, characteristics of our evolving lives.
Describing her creative process, Park told QNS that the “building blocks” of her artwork, which are cable ties and monofilaments (fishing lines), can be compared to modules in architecture.
“My process of work follows the steps used in architecture. It starts with some criterion and intuitive sketch that meets the criterion and characters and feelings that I want to create. It is followed by examining structures, since structures in my work are outwardly shown as part of my work,” she explained, adding, “But what really fascinates and excites me is that I am constructing three-dimensional objects and spaces with these two-dimensional materials via weaving or basketry.”
“Weaving and basketry are classic methods used for building a variety of objects, as small as containers and clothes, and big as a house. The methods do not require any other tools,” Park continued. “More importantly, I find the methods very effective in creating the curvatures that I want. The cable tie-dying process is very similar to fabric dying process.”
The artist, who told QNS that she loved drawing as a child and could spend hours making sketches with just a pencil and a piece of paper, noted that she was always drawn to aesthetics.
“Park has shown in this exhibit, how beautiful and intricate art projects can be made from non-traditional art materials like zip ties and plastic cups,” said MFTA Gallery Director John Cloud Kaiser. “These works, composed of multiples of discarded objects, hold a mirror up to our present world and show the mysterious patterns and organic forms that can be revealed by looking at everyday objects in new ways.”
Park’s work has been displayed in numerous venues. In New York City, her creations can be seen at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Manhattan.
“A Kaleidoscope of Lines/Forms/Patterns is on view at MFTA from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This exhibition is free and open to the public.