Figures is a series of collaborative works initiated by the artists in 2006. The series addresses the intangible life of the body – that which we do not ordinarily see or feel. The works evoke the activities of fundamental elements of the body such as water, lymph, blood, and the organs that generate and circulate them.


In order to present this invisible life of the body the Figures are constructed from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of “painted” cards. The cards are the size of a standard business card: 2 x 3.5 inches. Each card is painted individually with combinations of shellac, enamel, polyurethane, synthetic gold and silver pigment, and graphite. The unpredictable reactions between the materials produce organic movements and cell-like forms. When joined edge to edge to create a figure, the organic idiosyncrasy of each card combines with the underlying, pixilated grid to suggest dynamic, yet structured, movements of life. The use of business cards establishes references to individual identity within the larger as well as to activity at the cellular level.


The process of work in the studio focuses on the physical interactions between materials. The artists gravitate towards materials and methods that do not permit complete control. The works tend to discover their direction during the uncomfortable moments when it is not possible to control the materials. In these moments the materials have the power to reveal unexpected expressive possibilities and to release new layers of content.



Ian Harvey + Koo Kyung Sook

December 2009