Park Joon's exhibition at the KATE OH gallery consists of a series of monochrome photographs and a video presentation from his journeys to the Death Valley. As an experienced sojourner who intentionally seeks out the desert for peace, personal renewal and to pursue a closer relationship with the spirit, the nature and the truth, Park combines the gestalt experiences of desert and darkroom to bring forth his intimate photo-works. Park's primary artistic medium, black and white photography, seems to be an apt choice for expressing his philosophy and responses to the notion of physical desert and spiritual desertification. Although color photography has its achievements, monochrome promised insights and visions of reality purified for Park; it allowed him freedom from the contradictory richness of full color, and a means towards emphasis and control.
Park's photographs show many facets of desert with emphasis on the dynamic interplay of its parts and wholes. His complete and awe inspiring desert scapes and the intimate partial scapes (including cracks, furrows and miraculous animal foot prints on the desert surface) create synergistic effect to convey beautifully the physical realities of the place. Park renders astonishingly the characteristics of the desert and the mood of the dweller by treating carefully the balance of figure and ground, light and dark, yin and yang. The process of re-formulating and re-presenting perceived desert forms and experienced conditions Park emphasizes on three notions which are eliminations of the insignificant, idea of implicitness and active complicity of the viewer.
Park's criticism of some aspect of contemporary culture is reflected in his photos as he ponders upon the notions of implicitness/ explicitness, intrinsicness/ extrinsicness and essential/superfluous in them. For him desert crossing is an intrinsic activity which enables him to strip away the comforts of superfluous, extravagant, vulgar life and the discomforts of its insipid, meaningless consequences. The lack of moisture, hot temperature, high winds, extreme aridity and horrendous level of solarity of the Death Valley inversely serve him to foster positive attitude toward life and spiritual growth. The experience of nothingness in the desert penetrate sojourner's life resulting in a radically different perspective on how one relates to others and environment. Park says, the sense of gratefulness and hope flourish in the life of hardship and ordinary events such as a lone flower blooming in a dry sandy stream, a bird on the wing, or stars streaming across a dark desert sky can be appreciated as miracle.