Rina Yoon

Rina Yoon received B.F.A in studio art from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and M.F.A in printmaking from the Washington University in St. Louis, MO.   Yoon is Professor of Art at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design where she has been teaching printmaking since 1999.  Over the last 20 years, Yoon has focused on non-traditional printmaking methods in her work, and has produced a series of large-scale prints, print installations, drawings, and mixed media works.  Yoon’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including 12 solo exhibitions, and invitational/group exhibitions in the US, Korea, China, Poland, Germany, India, and Italy.  Most recently, she participated in the China/America International Print Exhibition in China, New Hanji: American Perspective in South Korea.  More info:  www.rinayoon.com 

Between In and Yeon – Artist’s Statement

 “Regard your body as a vessel, simple boat getting here and there.  Make of it wish-fulfilling body to bring about benefit of being.”  

by Shantideva from A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

“It is clear that life is maintained by a huge number of constantly compensating alterations by every tissue and organ, all with the purpose of perpetuating the stability of the milieu interior which in turn perpetuates the stability of the cells.”

by Sherwin Nuland  from Wisdom of the Body

In “Between In and Yeon”, the body returns to the earth and emerges from it.  The earth and body are separate and one at the same time.   I imagine that my body, like a seed, has been planted in the soil of life.  The body waits quietly underneath the soil till it emerges from the surface.  It will grow and endure, celebrate and struggle, until it returns back to the earth.

In my most recent body of work, “Between In and Yeon” I have been examining the concept of “Inyeon (因緣)”, which is one of the most fundamental concepts in Buddhism.  In means “cause” and Yeon means “effect”.  It refers to the view that everything in life is interdependent and that no phenomenon exists (or comes about) without depending on other phenomena or conditions around it.

A seed is a good example to demonstrate this relationship.  A fate of a seed, which has its pre-determined property (In), is dependent on the external environment – soil condition, climate (Yeon). Much like a seed, our human life is interdependent: out DNA, familial situation, geographical environment, life situations influence and shape our sense of being.  We undergo the continuous change throughout our lifetimes, both physically and emotionally; our sense of self is being shaped and re-shaped as we negotiate between fate and will, and push and pull.

As an immigrant of 35 years in the US, I have spent most of my adult life in search of my rootedness and belonging.  The Buddhist teachings reminds me that our identity is not a static thing or a one thing.   My sense of self does not need to be defined by nationality, geography, or culture.  Understanding that “I” am not an autonomous entity but a part of a whole, gives me comfort and feeling of openness.  As an artist, I seek a place of my belonging in my work, which is not bound by one particular geographic location or culture.