ARTISTS SUEJIN JO AND JAMIE MARTINEZ ON THE ALLURE OF THE TRIANGLE

Work from “Triangle Dialogues.” Photo courtesy of Jamie Martinez.

Triangle Dialogues
Through May 26th, 2018
Chashama: 485 Madison Avenue, New York City

Artists Suejin Jo and Jamie Martinez have teamed up for a show, “Triangle Dialogues,” highlighting their shared investigation of the triangle in their abstract painting. Besides the subject matter of their artwork, Jo and Martinez share another trait: both are immigrant artists. Jo is Korean-born and now based in New York, and Martinez immigrated to the United States at 12-years-old. We asked the artists about their common ground and what exactly draws them to triangle forms. Read on for our exclusive interview.

Work by Suejin Jo

What draws you to the triangle?

Suejin Jo: My formative years were spent in pre-industrialized Korea where women were oppressed and the law did not protect them. I found solace in Catholic religion and the Trinity became a symbol of order and justice for me.

Jamie Martinez: I love the strength, mystery and power that the triangle represents. It’s a geometric form that can only be broken down into other triangles, therefore making it a primal geometric form. It has also been used in many cultures to represent things like woman, fire, water and the Trinity: God, son and the holy spirit, like Suejin Jo said. Triangles are also the strongest shape because weight is evenly distributed through all three sides. They are the basic building blocks for Virtual Reality. I also love to connect people, which is what triangles do—when they are combined together they become even stronger.

Work from “Triangle Dialogues”

“Triangle Dialogues” is an exploration of your shared use of the triangle in your art. How did you two connect?

Jo: I met Jamie visiting his gallery, The Border. I was impressed by his metal triangle reliefs and quest into the mystery of the Pyramids, so I invited him to do a show together.

Do your experiences as immigrants influence your work at all? If so, how?

Jo: Leaving the old world is not just physical but also a spiritual journey. I had to give up the old values in order to survive in the new world. I often use my art to resolve the conflict in my life.

Martinez: My paintings and new work deal with connecting people, so immigration and open borders are things I deeply believe in.

The Border, Jamie Martinez’s gallery for immigrant artists

Jamie, can you tell us about your art space, The Border?

Martinez: The Border is a project space I opened to show, support and nurture the work of immigrant artists living in the United States. I felt a void for a space like this, and I was doing a lot of studio visits and meeting really talented artists that happened to be immigrants like myself. I am very lucky to be getting great feedback and support from people who are volunteering their time and services to help me out.

I opened [The Border] in March with a group show that included a great lineup of immigrant artists. The second show, “Intricate Neighbors,” opened last Friday and I am extremely happy with how it turned out. There are so many talented immigrant artists here and it’s really exciting putting these shows together. The follow-up show is called “Intricate Neighbors II” at Galerie Protégé and it will open on May 17th from 6-8 pm. I hope you can join me for the opening.

“Triangle Dialogues”
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