ANNA PARK (B. 1996)
ANNA PARK (B. 1996)
ANNA PARK (B. 1996)
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ANNA PARK (B. 1996)

Is it Worth It?

ANNA PARK (B. 1996)
Is it Worth It?
signed and dated 'ANNA PARK 2020' (on the reverse)
charcoal on paper mounted on panel
132 x 107 cm. (52 x 42 in.)
Painted in 2020
Half Gallery, New York
Private Collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

‘It’s overwhelming sometimes, but I feel like the work, my drawings themselves, are a bit overwhelming, when you first step into room with them […] there’s little Easter eggs that I’ve hidden here that are more recognisable, or they devolve into just abstract marks.’ –Anna Park

Executed in 2020, Is it worth it? features a male in the centre of the canvas, sticking his face into one hand with a napkin while holding another fist tightly. The protagonist is surrounded by billowing monochrome lines that juxtapose moments, fragmented body parts, and melodramatic facial expressions into a singular surrealistic and madness scene like a comic strip. An onlooker’s eye darting at the back is rendered close to the completeness, only to pull the viewer back to reality.

Gravitating to the charcoal for its adaptability, quickness and ‘forgivingness’, Park’s paintings often suggest an overwhelmed environment filled with American splendour and bodies segmented like shattered mirror. As the chief curator of the Drawing Center, New York Claire Gilman once said, ‘She (Park) has an ability to use line to match the aggressive, emotional overload that comes out of her work—this feeling of chaos and rage that reflects the chaos of our lives. She’s able to express that in every dimension, in the subject matter and her use of line,’ ( C. Gilman, quoted in T. Thackara, ‘Anna Park’s Charcoal Drawings of the End of the World Have Earned Her Fans From Top Curators to KAWS. At 25, She’s Just Getting Started’, Artnet News, October 12, 2021) Indeed, the unsettling mise-en-scene Park composed demands nothing but our attention, just like the artist’s source of inspiration—the ever-growing image data accumulate through search engine and algorithm.

Similar to Hero Mentality (2021), another painting of Park that acquired by the High Museum last year, Is it worth it? encompasses the Americana motif that developed from the artist’s childhood experiences in Salt Lake City, Utah as an immigrant, while the chaotic and breathless aspect largely came from her living experience as an artist in New York. Park prefers to distance herself from the crowd, conveying her sensible observation of random snippets—nightclubs, barbecues, tea parties or game shows—into the imaginary "happening" on her canvas.

Born in South Korea in 1996 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, Park first studied illustration and animation at Pratt Institute before gaining her MFA at the New York Academy of Art under the tutelage of American painter Michael Grimaldi. Though in her early twenties, Park’s works have been acquired by public institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. The artist has been the subject of a solo exhibition Last Call at SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia this September.

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