School of Art Presents ‘Emography’ in Mason Hall Alumni Atrium Gallery

Posted: February 8, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: February 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The School of Art brings Huh Hwe-tae’s exhibition, “Emography,” to the Mason Hall Alumni Atrium Gallery on the Fairfax Campus Feb. 15-March 15.

An opening reception will be held on Monday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m.

This traveling exhibition demonstrates the artist’s contemporary painting, known as emography, as well as elaborate seal engraving pieces.

Emography is a new art form that merges calligraphy and painting. It was invented in 2005 by Huh, who serves as the director of the Moosan Emographic Art Institute in Seoul, Korea.

Huh uses enormous brushes to paint images on paper, ceramics, furniture or other media. At first glance, the viewer sees simple calligraphy characters. But, when viewed in depth, the characters transform into images, and the images have a deeper symbolic meaning than their superficial appearance.

Renowned German-based art critic Ryu Byung-hak coined the term “emography” to describe this art genre where calligraphy merges with symbolism, form and imagery.

“My work reflects a set of elements that allow viewers to have an aesthetic experience through calligraphy’s characters and nature’s disciplinary quality,” Huh says.

“I reinterpret nature’s objects through calligraphy and express them daringly with imaginative art, along with line delineation and formation. The viewer sees, for example, widely unfolding, flowing clouds; swaying, sweeping willow trees; an eagle fluttering its wings and circling ’‘round a blue sky; a meandering river running through the earth; rain and wind; thunder and lightning; a running horse; a menacing serpent; a flying dragon and phoenix; and a tiger at rest. These forms seek to express the profound meaning and deep spirituality within my work.”

This exhibition comes on the heels of Huh’s first exhibition in the United States at James Madison University, as well as his widely acclaimed 2006 German and 2008 Korean exhibitions. Eastern Mennonite University, the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the New York Cultural Center have also opened their doors to the artist.

Huh has worked with a variety of traditional calligraphic styles, such as Jeonseo (seal script), Yeaseo (clerical/official script), Haeseo (regular/standard script), Hangseo (semi-cursive/running script), Choseo (cursive/grass script), Korean alphabet styles, seal engraving, the “Four Gentleman” (plum blossoms, orchids, chrysanthemums, bamboo) and even ceramics.

He won the grand prize at the 1995 National Art Exhibition, the most honorable art competition in Korea, and is one of the most renowned Korean calligraphic artists and seal engravers. With his U.S. tour, the artist seeks to introduce a new art genre to American audiences and to create a unique aesthetic experience combining ancient Asian calligraphy with modern painting techniques.

The web site contains the history of emography and all of Huh Hwe-tae’s work. For more information, contact Young Yim at 571-215-9417 or

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