Known for both her eclectic use of mediums and her ethereal depictions of beautiful female subjects, Portland-based artist Stella Im Hultberg boasts a distinctive body of work. In the past, her art has spanned sketched studies of faces, unique explorations of color and form, and calligraphic paintings. Most recently, she has turned her attention to art inspired by her Korean identity, as evident in the collection of fanciful and folkloric creations presented in her new show, Mago.
Ranging from saturated paintings to more muted drawings, these new works explore the South Korean-born artist’s heritage. According to mythology, Mago is a goddess that’s the “mother of mothers.” As Spoke Art Gallery notes, this folkloric figure has deeply resonated with Im Hultberg, whose art often examines “her changing role both as daughter and mother.” The artist’s personal connection with Mago is evident in her new work, as each imaginative piece incorporates “personal icons like the peony, representational of her mother, with her own interpretation of folklore.”
In addition to subject matter, the aesthetic style of Im Hultberg’s new series also conveys Korean influences. Featuring rich patterns reminiscent of traditional textiles and bold color palettes characteristic of Korean crafts, these paintings and drawings retain the artist’s contemporary style while introducing age-old inspirations.
Mago is on view at Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco from August 31 through September 23, 2017.