Gallerist Rosa Park has opened a space in Los Angeles to showcase the work of Korean artists and designers, with interiors by local studio BC intended to reflect the country’s visual culture.
Francis Gallery LA is Park’s second location and is an expansion of her original gallery in Bath, UK – both presenting the work of emerging Korean artists.
Situated on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, the new space was designed with Lindsey Chan and Jerome Byron, founders of LA-based BC.
The duo preserved the building while transforming the inside with references to traditional Korean architecture and art.
These include a curved partition wall influenced by a moon jar and a contemporary re-interpretation of a hanok courtyard.
“The space was conceived to pay homage to Korean art and design in subtle ways – whether it was in the curve of a partition wall, the colour palette of the interior paints, or the profile of a low bench in the courtyard,” said Park.
Places of worship like chapels and monasteries were also referenced in the design. These were accentuated by the use of “humble materials” and pared-back forms.
Although minimal, the intention was to ensure the gallery still felt warm and inviting, as well as provide an appropriate setting for the pieces on show.
“I think this emotional connection to a space, to a work, is central to what I’m doing with Francis,” Park said.
“It was of great importance to me that the space acted as the ideal framework to house works that I hope will move people.”
The inaugural exhibition at Francis Gallery LA is titled Morning Calm, on view until 7 January 2023, and features the work of six artists of Korean descent.
Bo Kim, John Zabawa, Koo Bohn Chang, Nancy Kwon, Rahee Yoon and Song Jaeho are all at different stages in their careers.
Their painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics all explore Korean identity in an international context and offer insights into the artists’ cultural heritage.
“With Los Angeles being home to the largest Korean community in the United States and Park having roots in both Seoul and LA, the debut show seeks to explore the nuanced connections between the two places,” said a statement from the gallery.
LA’s art scene has grown exponentially over the past decade, and the city is now home to many new galleries and exhibition spaces.
The photography is by Rich Stapleton.