The JEONG Portfolio The JEONG Portfolio a digital reproduction

Gat Shadow

9 x 8” letterpress print on Magnani mouldmade 180gsm paper, from polymer plate made from an original drawing

“The ethereal yet formal Korean Gat, a woven horsehair hat worn only by the male aristocracy of the Choseon era, was a labor-intensive object made by skilled, dedicated craftspeople. Many of these craftspeople were women, of a gender and class that would never wear or own a Gat themselves. This print, depicting the weave pattern used to make the hats, recalls the ghostly presence of the unnamed women behind these beautiful objects. The muted grey ink, in contrast to the tar black of the actual gat, is meant to remember and connect to the women hidden in shadow.”

Rochelle Youk’s work presents as crafted objects, informed by her heritage as the American daughter of immigrants from Japan and Korea. Born and raised in Los Angeles, yet still deeply affected by her ancestors’ experiences of colonialism and imperialism. Labor intensive paintings, drawings, and sculptures examine the history between Asia and the United States through the lens of cultural traditions, especially folk crafts. Combining these specific historical processes with non-traditional materials like plexiglass, cigarettes, and fluorescent ink, encourages new perspectives on the long-established, and opens a dialogue on how traditions are used to form identity, how they are exchanged and shared, and how they can become commodified.

Since moving to the Bay, Youk’s work has been exhibited at Root Division, The Performance Art Institute, The Kitsch Gallery, Southern Exposure and the Berkeley Art Center, where she is also a member of the Program Committee. In 2016 she was in residence at the Vermont Studio Center and more recently was a studio artist at Kala Art Institute. After getting an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute, Youk has worked for over 10 years as a bookbinder at local letterpress book publisher, The Arion Press, where she completed an apprenticeship in bookbinding in 2012, and currently manages the bindery. She also works as a freelance bookbinder for local artists and designers and maintains a studio practice out of the Dogpatch Collective in San Francisco.