Shin-hee Chin Featured in Surface Design

August 08, 2014

Categories: General News

Tabor College associate professor of art and design, Shin-hee Chin, is featured in the summer edition of Surface Design—the leading publication in the field of design, fiber and textile arts. The publication is circulated internationally.

The idea for a Korean theme, for this particular edition, came about in 2011 when Marci Rae McDade, journal editor of Surface Design, saw Chin’s Self Portrait #5 in Fiber Focus, a regional exhibition hosted by Art Saint Louis gallery.

“At a distance, the piece shimmered in a seemingly pixelated halo of vibrant color,” McDade said. “Chin created this effect with a technique she developed by appropriating the traditional Korean paper twisting method of jiseung used for basketry. Handmade Korean mulberry paper (hanji) is twisted into single strips between the index finger and thumb to make cords. Chin substituted recycled fabric for paper to construct thin tubes, which she then connected with hand stitching.”

“This is quite an honor,” says Chin. “I am flattered that Marci thought about this type of theme, because of my artwork.”

Writer Mary M. Dusenbury tells about Chin’s style, techniques and intellectuality in the article entitled “Valorizing the Voiceless.”

Chin’s self-portrait, on the cover of the magazine, shows strips of recycled red, white and blue fabric, twisted into single strips. What emerges out of these tiny chords is a smiling Shin-hee, with her right eye covered by her hair, posing for a portrait in a white collared blouse.

“I constantly try to valorize devalued women’s labor and the woman’s body by reversing the negative insinuations associated with female domains and imbuing them with positive qualities,” Chin says.

Five other works of art by Chin are also featured with Dusenbury’s article –Silence, Behind the Scenes, Nadia Anjuman, Breathing and Mother Tongue and Foreign Language. Dusenbury goes into the detail of each piece.

Chin was born in Seoul, South Korea, but has lived in the United States for the past 26 years. Self Portrait #5 captures the essence of both countries that she represents.

Self Portrait #5 poses questions about identity and the sense of belonging in terms of gender, ethnicity and nationality, ‘Who am I and what am I?,’” she says. “Traditionally, red and blue are assigned gender-specific roles. Red and blue are also used a great deal in flags and are thus associated with patriotism, allegiance and loyalty. Both Korea and the United States, the two countries essential in defining my nationality and cultural citizenship, use red and blue colors in their flags. To symbolize the hybridity of my identity and cultural practices, I alternated stripes of red, white and blue (America) and red, blue, white and black (Korea) in creating an image of myself.”

Viewer’s Choice Award

Chin also received word from Karen Gillenwater, the curator of the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Ind., that her piece entitled “Mrs. Fowler” was voted as the Viewer’s Choice Award. The exhibit, Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, explored the world of contemporary art quilts.

“Our visitors always respond personally to Shin-hee’s artworks,” Gillenwater said. “In fact, this is the second year that she has won our Viewer’s Choice Award. Shin-hee’s unique portraits in fiber resonate with viewers. Many visitors commented on the emotional impact of “Mrs. Fowler” and the elegant way that Shin-hee portrayed grief. They also often commented on the techniques that she used to create the piece—mostly the hand-stitching that she so artfully employed to create the figure.”

Currently, Chin has an exhibit, Root and Rise, on display at Pioneer Bluffs Gallery in Matfield Green, Kan., until August 30.

To read the entire article featuring Shin-hee Chin in Surface Design, click on this link: