What struck me about a recent conversation with Kyungmin Park was her clarity — clarity in what she tries to convey as an artist and in how she wants people to see her work. A figurative ceramic sculptor, Park has been recognized nationally and internationally as a gifted emerging artist in her field. She is the featured artist in “Ceramic Sculpture Culture: Uniting the Figure” at Endicott College, where Park is an assistant professor of 3D studio art.
The exhibit’s title references the group of professional ceramic artists who have come together to share information on gallery opportunities, future exhibitions and to provide funding and scholarships for emerging
As co-curator of the exhibit, Park has selected works by fellow members of the Ceramic Sculpture Culture — recently renamed Ceramic Sculpture Collective — from throughout the United States to display in the show. They are Hannah Cameron (Helena, Montana), Gunyoung Kim (Dublin, Ohio), David Kenton Kring (Lexington, Kentucky), Benjamin Lambert (Alma, Michigan), Taylor Robenalt (Sarasota, Florida), Kevin Rohde (Baltimore, Maryland), Jamie Bates Slone (Norman, Oklahoma) and Travis Winters (Uniontown, Pennsylvania).
Park’s works in the exhibit are all hand-built figurative sculptures that she sees as narrative ceramics. “I was always naturally drawn to little figures, and I enjoy storytelling. I express how I see the world through my figures, and my figurative work is the best way to tell my own story. I am making myself and how I perceive the world. Figurative work looks like us, so we get more feeling out of it,” she stated. “I like people to see my work, then put their own story to it.”
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Park was drawn to clay animation from very early childhood. “I made little figurines with oil clay, and I knew by the time I was 12 that I wanted to be an artist. I was lucky that my parents were very supportive. They sent me to an art high school.” From there, Park attended college in Seoul, where several American teachers, recognizing her passion, drive and talent in ceramic work, encouraged her to apply for study in the U.S. At age 20, she began her B.F.A. studies at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, followed by earning an M.F.A. from the University of Georgia.
When she arrived in the U.S., Park spoke no English.