Jae-Eun Suh, a multidisciplinary artist from Austin, Texas, completed her Master of Fine Arts in New Media at the University of North Texas. Suh creates compositions using analog methods, digital images, and projection. Her work conveys the longing, embodied experiences, and Third Culture Kid (TCK) experience in various media. She received the Talley Dunn Gallery Equity In The Arts Fellowship. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally such as the Centre Culturel et Littéraire Jean Giono in Manosque, France, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Gimpo, South Korea, and The MAC in Dallas.
My work as an American artist (Korean diaspora) reflects the interplay of diverse cultures and locations that have shaped my experiences. Through the exploration of photo and video archives from my travels, I uncover patterns and images that symbolize both place and transition. Utilizing digital technology, I fragment and reconstruct visual elements, evoking a sense of longing and disconnection. Video projections onto objects and architecture create abstracted and fragmented images, blurring the boundaries of time and permanence. I also investigate the relationship between the body and space, using visual, auditory, and haptic responses to evoke longing. Viewers are invited to navigate constructed spaces, projecting their own experiences and imagination onto the fragmented layers of the artwork. My work aims to capture dualities and stimulate contemplative meditation through the juxtaposition of tangible and intangible, clear and hazy, large and small, and intimate and distant elements.
Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar
I was born in Austin, Texas, and have had the opportunity to live in diverse locations such as South Korea, Southeastern France, and various parts of the United States. These diverse experiences have exposed me to a wide range of colors, patterns, and architectural styles from different cultures. I have captured these elements through photography and videography, documenting landscapes I encountered over time. My educational background includes a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in New Media Art from the University of North Texas, where I also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Art Studies. During my studies in Art Education, I received comprehensive training in both traditional and digital art techniques. This includes proficiency in printmaking methods such as relief, intaglio, monotype, etching, and aquatint, as well as ceramics techniques like slab work, pinch pots, handbuilding, and wheel throwing. While exploring different techniques, I found myself drawn to the process of layering and collaging elements to create narratives in my work. It was during this exploration that I became fascinated with the intersection of technology and art. The introduction to digital art opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, as I delved into various software programs such as Adobe Suite, Blender, and TouchDesigner. I also began utilizing tools like 360 cameras, 3D scanners, and projectors. One particular experience that left a lasting impression on me was a visit to Carrières de Lumières, a multimedia installation housed within a quarry in France. This encounter further deepened my interest in incorporating technology into my practice. The boundless nature of new media art has allowed me to explore and self-teach various software programs. Along the way, I also started incorporating sound into my work, experimenting with synthetic sounds created using synthesizers and recording sounds (nature and noises). I had the pleasure of collaborating with composers from the music department during my time as a graduate student, and I enjoyed working with individuals from different disciplines to create intellectually and technically challenging works that encourage growth.
What are some of your main influences?
I draw inspiration from Sarah Sze, Do Ho Suh, Olafur Eliasson, and Pauline Oliveros. Within my own work, I explore the use and interpretation of data, patterns, and timelines derived from personal collections, archives, and memories. My creative process is driven by experimentation, intuition, and a site-responsiveness. Through the use of diverse materials and media, as well as the fragmentation of sounds and visuals, I generate multiple iterations of my concepts, inviting viewers to engage in a contemplative exploration of the subject matter.
What are you working on now?
I recently completed my MFA thesis show titled “Times·Mu·Ta·Tion.” This installation incorporated video, sculpture, and audio surround elements. It was specifically designed to respond to the gallery space and utilized materials such as PVC pipes, zip ties, projection, and speakers. Moving forward, I am eager to explore different iterations of the show using alternative mediums and techniques, focusing on interactivity and the viewer’s physical and virtual engagement. I believe incorporating coding into the process could enhance the dynamic nature of the installation and encourage greater interactivity between the audience and the space. To achieve this, I am actively learning Unity in order to integrate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into my practice. Through trial and error, I aim to gain a deeper understanding of these technologies and how they can further emphasize the relationship between the body and space, as well as explore the concept of empathy in my work.