Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present What Are You Looking For, a solo exhibition featuring new works by Noh, Sang-Kyoon.

Covered in thousands of sequins that he threads together by hand, the sculptures and canvases of Korean artist Noh, Sang-Kyoon trace their origins to both the ordinary and the spiritual-from the memory of his mother's spangled bag and the costumes of singers on television, to a near-death childhood experience, when he nearly drowned. He realized then that he "could die in vain, as nobody, as nothing, with no purpose, as if a fish," and later translated these memories into a series of early work where sequins created the shining appearance of scales.

In What Are You Looking For, a solo exhibition of new works,  Noh, Sang-Kyoon challenges the viewer with the depth and complexity of his decorative, popular medium and patient, repetitive technique. His process elevates everyday objects to the meditative realm, an act performed subtly and startlingly in For the Worshipers. Here a plastic Buddha loses its previous meaning as a readymade object of great symbolic and religious power and becomes instead a deity that is more human and approachable. Noh, Sang-Kyoon's Buddha wears not a monk's robe but rather an ornate, flashy one made of sequins. The artist thus blocks any instinctively reverential reactions, confusing the viewer and forcing the question: What are you looking for?

Familiar objects receive a similar treatment in the artist's For the Beholder series. A mannequin with sequined skin becomes something other than a clothes or accessories hanger-it becomes a beautiful object in and of itself.

By similarly resurfacing these found forms, the artist narrows the gap between extremes: the Buddha, a majestic symbol of religious power, and the mannequin, a vapid shell of commercial usage. Challenged, the viewer must rethink his or her customary way of understanding these objects.

Over time, the artist's use of the sequins has grown more layered and multi-dimensional. If in his early fish series the shiny disks worked to reference the appearance of scales, in his later works the conceptual and the spiritual are increasingly juxtaposed with the material and the imaginary world. By mining the characteristics of sequins to create optical illusions, he reveals his works as fantasies but also, paradoxically, as part of how we recognize the world in which we live. What is seen, perceived and believed is no longer simply the truth, but a phenomenon where the real and the spiritual collide.

Noh, Sang-Kyoon was born in 1958 in Nonsan, Korea. He received a bachelor's degree in painting at the Seoul National University and later studied in New York, where he received his masters in painting from Pratt Institute. In 1999, he was selected to represent Korea at the 49th Venice Biennale where he gained international attention. His work has been exhibited in Korea, Japan, China, France, England, Germany, and United States. This is his second solo exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.