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  • Writer's pictureSheldon

Mario Jung

Born in Seoul South Korea in 1949, Mario Jung's path to his career as an artist has been circuitous and fraught with setbacks. Despite this, or perhaps even because of it, his works radiate a sense of positivity and joy. The world of his imagination is a world at peace with itself - where trees bloom year-round and the lushness of the landscape is a symbol of endless renewal. Due to his unique approach to painting and the depth of texture he creates on the canvas surface, his landscapes seem more like doors than paintings - open windows onto a world so real it can be touched and felt and walked around. His approach blends sculpture and the two dimensional into a style that owes as much to Van Gogh as it does to the whimsy of Dr. Seuss and the ordered delicacy of traditional Korean art.

"Changing Courses" 40x60

Mario graduated from the Seoul Industrial Junior College in 1971, even then dreaming of a career as a professional artist. This creative drive lead him to submit work to the Exhibition of Fine Art of the Seoul Artists Association in 1986, a fortunate leap of faith as his work was awarded the Grand Prize of Western Style Painting and his career immediately took off.

A terrible accident soon after threatened to end it all. Mario was left blinded, deafened and paralyzed after a fall from a third-story balcony. Recovery was painful and after many weeks Mario was ready to give up completely until a spiritual dream restored his will to live. Doctors called his recovery miraculous, soon he was back on his feet and ready to take up the brush again.

"Day By The Lake" 60x48

The history of the oil painting technique in Asia is a fraught one. Virtually unknown, oil painting held very little interest for Asian artists until the mid 19th and early 20th centuries when artists began to take trips to Europe to study or work at one of the major Western art schools of the time. At the same time, artists from the west brought their technique and art with them to Asia - setting in motion what has been described as an "art-theory-exchange program" with the great artists of both cultures coming together to share ideas and techniques. Oil painting is a relatively new technique in Asia (at least when compared to the long and winding history of calligraphy or ink painting) and this newness allows for artists to experiment freely without the boundaries of too much focus on tradition.

"Love and Compassion" 40x30 "Finding Hope" 48x36

Mario works in a style of oil painting called "impasto" a technique used in history by Van Gogh and even earlier, though with less gusto, by the likes of Rembrandt and Titian. Impasto works require the layering of thick strokes of paint to create shadow and light where the paint sticks out from the canvas. Mario takes this technique a step further and uses such tools as cake-decorating nozzles and kitchen utensils to create the extremely three dimensional surface of his pieces. Depending on the size of the canvas Mario can use up to 18 tubes of paint on a single image.

Now living in California, Mario continues to be inspired by the beauty of the world around him.

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