Articles From the December 1994 Unification News
by Harry Phillips-Sterling, VA
November was an important month for the Unificationist artistic community. The Akinlan Art Alliance held its first exhibition at the Arnold Bernhard Arts Center at the University of Bridgeport from November 15th through December 20th of this year. Hyo Jin Nim Moon gave the name Akinlan to this international group of Unificationist artists just days before the exhibition opened. By combining the English words "akin" and "land", Akinlan has the meaning of "land of kindred people."
Unlike other art movements in the past which were formed by artists working with similar styles and ideas about how to produce art, the Akinlan artists are more concerned with "why" they produce art. The twelve artists in the alliance come from six different nations and use very different styles. What they have in common is their inspiration and motivation which comes from each artist's study and application of Rev. Moon's Unification Principle and Theory of Art.
The styles of painting ranged from expressive abstractions to highly detailed realism. Anthony Coffey's four large abstracts on gessoed fabric were full of a vibrant energy, with elongated forms pushing and pulling in brown tones on white backgrounds. Anthony, originally from North Carolina, is a student at the Boston Museum's School of Fine Arts. Joong Hi Lee, a professor of art at Wonkwang University in Korea, uses Korean dancers and Buddhist shrines for his underlying forms, but they are just barely recognizable through intense, vibrant primary colors and the energetic, gestural flow of paint.
Also working on the edge of abstraction is the Japanese artist, Wabe, who is currently living and working in New Jersey. His triptych Stream had a rich, full quality, as if shapes could be seen at different depths in the water, with the hint of autumn leaves on the surface.
Trying to span both abstract and realist worlds, the Korean artist Bang Young Park exhibited works in three very different styles. Among his works were abstract paintings containing singular black brush strokes as well as Chinese and Korean characters, and also highly detailed intense portraits. His third style used figures energetically and expressively, and included the works Falling Man and Fire Maker. Bang Young Park is currently working in the Graphics Department at the Manhattan Center Studios.
Another artist combining both abstract and realist elements in a unique way is Cynthia Toffey, the only woman represented in the show. Her early works combined elements such as truck doors, candy wrappers and hands. By superimposing historical figures such as Harriet Tubman and the biblical Judith on her Pop Art sensibility, she has created a depth of meaning and purpose which is refreshing. She also deserves special recognition for attending to many of the details that helped make this show a reality.
Tim Folzenlogen's more recent street scenes of his beloved Manhattan have a more intense contrast between light and shadow than his earlier works. His ability to find colors in the steel and shadows of the George Washington Bridge creates new perceptions of mundane objects.
Another artist using light and shadow to convey mood is the Austrian, Karl Leonhardtsberger. His mountainous landscapes were almost monochromatic and their high vantage point added to the disquieting mystery of these paintings.
Ull Kim, another of the Korean artists, offered three portraits of fiercely proud Koreans. These mixed media works were built up from the surface to create a kind of expressionistic bas-relief and gave a very powerful impression. Jan Parker, the British artist now living in Hawaii, in his Song of Eternal Love, showed us an elderly man watching over a white-robed couple and child, surrounded by light and color. Also along more spiritual lines were the works of Swedish artist Benny Andersson. His visionary symbolism, combining planets, galaxies, trees and mountains, created landscapes of cosmic consciousness. He also shared his concept of spiritual beings in Angel-Light.
Kang Ill Lee, the fourth of the Korean artists, used cardboard boxes for his surfaces, some still intact as boxes and others flattened out. His deft use of the acrylic medium transformed these boxes into his own personal vision of the landscape from his studio window in Bridgeport. Dennis Holcomb's vivid close-ups of various flora gave viewers a second look at some of nature's beauty. Dennis is currently living and working in Crofton, Maryland.
The Akinlan artists are striving to fulfill the purpose stated in their exhibition brochure. "We from different countries gather here today to overcome the confusion of this society and set out on a journey to search for true beauty. Furthermore, we sincerely hope to become a beacon of true light for this generation and experience the joy of true creation."
A special mention of praise goes to Clayton Lee, the Director of the School of Fine and Applied Arts at Bridgeport University, for his help in making the exhibition possible.
The Akinlan Art Alliance would like to communicate with artists and art enthusiasts both in the U.S. and around the world who share similar goals. If you would like to be included on the mailing list, please write to: Harry Phillips, 1037A Margate Ct., Sterling, VA 20164.
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