Kyounghwa Oh

Artist Statement

My work has been strongly influenced by the elements of nature. Nature is the unifying subject in my carved porcelain objects; through depicting it, I am able to express the emotions and experiences of life. I unite the opposite qualities of fullness and emptiness by using positive and negative space--and use graceful, flowing lines to reveal a harmonic balance. To capture the sense of the movement of nature, I use celadon glazes; specific hues and tones function to heighten the expression of feeling in my work.

In the past water was the main subject matter for my work; then I added form and texture. Inspiration comes from forms such as the Pitcher plant, Turban squash, and Aristolochia. I add coral texture for detail. Anything that catches my attention in new environments adds to my work. All of these elements are combined into new forms and textures.

I use wheel throwing to make a form and alter it by adding to it, cutting it, and tapping it. Once a new form is created, I draw lines and hand carve the surface decoration. Organic, flowing lines and pooling glaze emphasize the movement of water. For surface detail, I repeat patterns to create a realistic texture. For example, poking the surface of a piece with one pin tool for hours creates a coral texture, which is left without glaze to keep the detail. This surface depicts the contrast between shiny and matt, smooth and rough--like Yin and Yang.

In making my work, I hope to express the combination of traditional Asian values and modern Western society.


KyoungHwa Oh was born and grew up in Seoul, Korea, where she naturally developed a connection to traditional Korean ceramics (Koryo Celadon). Oh studied fashion design in Korea and worked for five years as a designer before coming to the United States to gain more design experience. While in the United States, her interest in clay was revived and she changed her plans to study ceramics.

After receiving her MFA degree, Oh worked as a Visiting Resident Artist at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas from 2009 to 2011. Oh came to Colorado Mesa University as the Art Department’s first Artist-in-Residence in Fall 2011, as part of an initiative to expose art students to unique artistic approaches. She joined the department as an Assistant Professor in 2014 and teaches both ceramics and foundation courses. Oh has been included in many juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the United Stated, China, and Canada. Oh received Ceramic Monthly’s Emerging Artist Award in 2012.

Oh’s life experiences and cultural background inspire her ceramic pieces. Her work consists of functional and sculptural carved porcelain. Her pieces are first thrown on the wheel and then altered by cutting, adding clay and carving to create new forms. Through the carving process, Oh strives to depict positive and negative space, uniting the ideas of fullness and emptiness. Oh creates ceramic objects that reflect traditional Korean culture as well as western contemporary style. Like Yin and Yang, Oh’s work encompasses the interaction between traditional Asian values and modern Western society.