May WIP Resident

We’re excited to welcome Julia Kwon as the Work In Progress resident for the month of May. Julia is an interdisciplinary artist currently creating painting, drawing, sculpture, and textile art. She constructs traditional Korean patchwork and invents textile by overloading patterns that are perceived as Korean to question notions of what it means to be Korean or feminine. Julia has earned her M.F.A. at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University and B.A. in Studio Art at Georgetown University. She has been actively exhibiting her work and won various awards such as the artist residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Vermont Studio Center, and Gallery 263. Julia will also have a solo exhibition this July at the Hillyer Art Space in Washington, DC.




Collective Quilting: A Conversation on Gender and Ethnicity

Saturday, May 27, 2-5PM

TAC Manhattan Studio


Join May's Work In Progress resident Julia Kwon in creating a large communal quilt at the Textile Arts Center’s Manhattan studio, while discussing issues regarding gender and ethnicity. Julia will talk about her practice and how she creates patchworks to convey her experience of objectification and comment on gender and ethnicity. Participants are encouraged to use Julia’s fabrics or bring in remnant fabrics from their own lives, embroider images or text to share their thoughts or personal experiences of objectification, and attach them to a larger patchwork in support and solidarity with others.




You can visit Julia’s installation for Work In Progress this May to learn more about her work and process during Artist Open Hours, on Saturdays, 2-5PM at our Manhattan studio.




 Artist Statement


My project comments on gender and ethnicity. It explores different ways for creating ruptures on Korean patterns. I activate paintings in relation to the stretcher bars, which become metaphors for framing and societal expectations for the authentic. I also create figures inside enlarged Korean object-wrapping cloth and lucky pouch to express the embodied experience and convey both the seriousness and ridiculousness of objectification. However, the fabrics are not only covering, blocking and suffocating, but also protecting, hiding and mystifying the body.

The textiles I create symbolize constructed notions of what it means to be Korean. My work is not simply a representation of minority identities, but rather a commentary on the dehumanizing, problematic process of being identified, reduced and categorized. By employing wrapping cloth that was historically a creative outlet for Korean women who had limited contact with the outside world, I consider ideas such as tradition, labor, craft, and “feminine” work. Further, I combine traditional Korean textile with contemporary textiles and global logos to consider both the past and the present to further investigate the idea of authenticity as well as cultural hybridity and transnationalism. 
By meticulously creating Korean textiles through painting and sewing, I am cherishing my cultural background. However, through imposing various disruptions and overburdening the textiles with “ethnic” patterns, I not only convey my experience of being objectified and judged superficially, but also expose and undercut the very preconceptions others may have based on my gender and ethnicity.