Cascade Crinoline 2008

On a light background, landscape motifs in blue-green tones contrast with cartoon-like shapes in pink and red.

Jiha Moon, Cascade Crinoline, 2008; Gift of the Georgia State Committee of NMWA; © Jiha Moon

With its blue-green tonality and range of landscape motifs, Cascade Crinoline is among Jiha Moon’s most direct references to classical Asian painting. Yet the bright pink and red ribbon forms she added to the lower section of the work reflect her interest in animation and cartoons. The precisely drawn hand near the center of the composition demonstrates her passion for European Renaissance-era figure studies. 

Noting that we live in a “mixed cultural world,” Jiha Moon addresses conventional oppositions—east/west, representational/abstract, historical/contemporary. She wants to explore ways that these traditional systems may be transcended.

Moon’s painting process involves both chance and precision handwork. To create Cascade Crinoline and other paintings from the late 2000s, Moon applied loose daubs of acrylic paint to hanji paper (handmade Korean mulberry paper). Next, she determined what those abstract shapes suggested to her—not unlike a Rorschach test. She then built up representational shapes using her thinnest paint brushes. In this work, she added lines around washes of color to evoke mountain ranges and rushing water, tree branches and cresting waves.

By combining disparate elements in her compositions, Moon achieves a dynamic effect. Shapes dissolve and re-form as our eyes move across the painting, and our minds must process and filter the myriad associations we have for each element.

National Museum of Women in the Arts