Chunbum Park - Contemporary Artist
Chunbum Park, also known as Chun, was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1991 and came to America in 2000. Park attained their BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2020. They then returned to Rochester, NY to pursue an MFA in Fine Arts Studio at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where they changed their pronouns and completed their degree in 2022.
Painting themselves as the beautiful woman that they desire to become, Park defies the racialization of beauty (both physical and performative) that makes white beauty iconic by pursuing anti-racist aesthetics and hybrid beauty.
The racialization of beauty is a social and cultural process of making white beauty the iconic beauty. This is seen in Japanese anime that depicts Northeast Asians with white features and Hollywood movies that traditionally featured white actors and actresses as the protagonists and through a normative lens.
Unable to transition into womanhood via gender-affirming surgery due to the societal and familial pressures that oppose their genderfluid and transgender aspirations, Park repeatedly and endlessly paints themselves as a woman, turning on and off their feminine role and personality - both imagined in fantasy and performed in reality in front of a camera - like a Japanese onnagata. The onnagata are male actors in the Kabuki Theatre who specialize in the feminine role and have transcended their performance into an artful femininity. The onnagata also contradict Judith Butler's assertion that gender is performative, meaning that a series of repeated acts commit the person into the specific gender role, of which the person has no choice or on and off switch, like the onnagata.
Most notable of Park's exhibitions include the "Fresh Faces" at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery (2021), "PAINT 2021" at the Silvermine Galleries (2021), "Brooklyn Seoul" at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (2021), "Sublime Nude" at the Limner Gallery (2022), "Summer Lovin" at the Treat Gallery (2022), and "The Expression of Onnagata: Fluidity and Timelessness" at the One Art Space (2022). In 2023, Park will be participating in "Our Bodies, Ourselves - 50 Years on" at the Upstream Gallery and "Vivid Vision" through the Art Fair 14C.
Park runs their Emerging Whales Collective website (which is currently merged with the Office Space Gallery), where they interview artists and review exhibitions. Park has also recently begun to write exhibition reviews professionally for the Two Coats of Paint online blogazine, Art Review City, and the New Visionary Magazine.