Oegil Kim Kyeong-ho
It's not every day that Chelsea offers a religious experience, but that's the goal in this show, featuring two Korean-language Buddhist sutras meticulously hand-copied and illuminated with intricate traditional patterns and figures. Installed in a specially built vitrine, the scroll and accordion book, each several yards long, are done in gold amalgam on deep blue paper with each tiny word precisely executed and—in the scroll—ensconced on its own floor of a repeated pagoda structure. The scriptural content is ancient, but the surrounding motifs are a mix of conventional (the Buddha instructing disciples) and experimental (the Empire State Building). The artist, who is also a poet and calligrapher involved with Buddhist transcriptions for some three decades, spent several years of intense concentration on each of these two works. Appropriately, the adopted portion of his name, "Oegil," means "a single path."