The Ethical Metalsmiths’ Emerging Artist Award is an annual award with the recipient chosen by the Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee and exhibition jurors. This year’s jurors were Lucy Louise Derickson, Kelley Morrison, Jane Barton, Carli Holcomb and Morgan Babic the current members of the Ethical Metalsmiths Student Committee as well as guest juror Renee Zettle-Sterling.
The Emerging Artist is awarded $1,000, generously sponsored by Richline Group, and featured on a large poster along side the Juror’s Choice Award and Committee Choice Award winners. The poster is mailed to academic institutions and trade schools across the globe. We also highlight the Emerging Artist on the EMStudents.org website by updating images and content through out the year.
The Emerging Artist Award is made possible by Richline Group as lead sponsor, with Rio Grande and No Dirty Gold sponsoring the Juror’s Choice Award and the Committee’s Choice Award respectively.
We are proud to present to you this years emerging artist Soohye Park.
Soohye Park is a Korean born visual artist who holds a BFA in Textiles from Seoul Women’s University, and Metals from California College of the Arts, and recently earned her MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is particularly fascinated by symbolic associations in objects and materials that could arouse emotions and empathy in others, beyond words, and through the heart. Currently, she primarily utilizes seemingly discarded or neglected second hand jewelry, and investigates their lost value, histories and emotions, alongside her own visceral attachments to them. Her work aims to evoke the poignancy of the ephemerality of life, versus the intangible remnants of things that we encounter and accumulate throughout our lives.
I’m fascinated by the fact that such small objects of jewelry can possess such potent sentimentality and attain so much emotional weight, beyond their aesthetic pleasure. Rings especially have more of the characteristic of their owners, and more symbolic associations within people’s relationships than any other form of jewelry.
In my recent body of work, Memori Ephemera, I use second hand rings from estate sales and vintage shops, to investigate the lost value of the seemingly disregarded and neglected—not just their physical, aesthetic value, but also their emotional qualities, which once made them precious. At the same time, there is a poignancy in the idea that things cannot last forever and must one day be passed on, or forgotten and left to fade into obscurity, much like the relationship between life and death.
I see my process of making: collecting second hand rings, fabricating them by flattening and fusing, into material such as silver sheets or nuggets, and recreating a new piece, as strongly related to ethical practice. I also hope that my work of taking once valued rings—embodied with lots of histories and memories and which have lost their old identities—and recreating something new out of them, like a simple silver plate, could create a dialogue about our behavior as humans of consuming, abandoning and forgetting things.