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Art Cruising

Korean woman’s East/West paintings a highlight of Saturday night’s group openings

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An up-and-coming young South Korean artist may turn out to be the star of the Summer Art Cruise this Saturday night.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jieun Park won't be in town herself, but three of her mixed-media paintings will: they'll be up at the newish Moen Mason Gallery.

"Her work embodies globalism," says Mitch Moen, art director and curator of the gallery, which is debuting three of her paintings during the group gallery openings. "They embrace her Asian heritage but they have the influence of the West. And she doesn't paint any scene she hasn't seen with her own eyes."

Park uses acrylics to paint tiny colored images of Hong Kong, Paris and Prague on Korean paper, embedding them inside giant calligraphic patterns in black ink. Her bold brushwork conjures up both traditional Asian art and western abstract expressionism, especially the work of Franz Kline.

And appropriately for an Art Cruise, her art has come across the sea.

Moen first saw Park's work on a trip to South Korea, where he was looking to balance the gallery's mix of contemporary figurative work with landscape.

"He was impressed with the Asian art scene," says Mason Tye, the gallery's business director. "They like contemporary art but in a different style. There's a clear line between western and Asian contemporary."

Park, who graduated with an art degree in 2010 from Konkuk University in her native Seoul, has already shown her work internationally, in Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy and in the U.S., at the Houston Art Fair. And she regularly exhibits in her hometown.

Moen Mason opened in November, in the Sixth and Sixth gallery district. Its mission, Moen says, is to show provocative contemporary art, with an emphasis on artists outside Tucson.

Case in point is Canadian Jonathan Hobin, whose crayon-bright photographs have transgressive images of children in pop-cultural/current news settings. One of his works has a kid -- dressed in the iconic black Abu Ghraib torture hood and cape -- about to be given an electric shock.

"He's a controversial artist and a lot of galleries wouldn't show him," Moen said.

Hobin's photo exhibition, which opened in May, will still be up Saturday night. Also on view, in the back of the 1000-foot space, will be a sampling of works by other gallery artists, including Aaron Nagel's retro soft-porn female nudes.

Moen Mason Gallery, 222A E Sixth St., 262-3806, www.moenmasongallery.com, will host a free reception from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 6. Free open bar.

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