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Ricco Gallery to show photographer’s exhibit

By Staff | Oct 17, 2014

Ricco Gallery in Shepherdstown announces a photography exhibit. “Syria Before the War,” by Shepherdstown-based artist Hyang Suk Oh. The gallery invites the public to an artist’s reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24; or to stop by to see the show between then and Dec. 24, when it will close.

Hyang Suk Oh’s photographs depict daily life in Damascus in 2009. A group of young children licking ice-cream cones, spice stalls in the bazaars, a behind-the-scenes look at the wedding gowns in a bridal shop, a shoemaker at his sewing machine, heaps of luscious-looking peaches and cherries for sale on the street—the subjects of these photos reveal the rhythm of the city’s daily life.

“I always learn when I walk with my camera,” explains the artist. “I love to get close to people in the coincidence of their lives.” Through her street photography, she explains, “I encounter the universal struggle for meaning and survival in all stations of life.” The message of this collection of work is “my impression of the open humanity of the people of Damascus as they lived their ordinary lives right before the tragedy struck.”

Oh was born in Korea and received bachelors of fine arts degrees from Hong Ik University in Korea and Kassel University of Arts in Germany. Her work has been shown in several photography exhibits in Germany, and in 2001 she received an award from the International Marianne Brandt Contest for a series of 12 photos that explored the use of space and the viewer experience at the Fridericianum Museum in Kassel.

The photos in the Ricco exhibit were taken during the artist’s month-long visit to Syria. An avid global traveler, Oh has also created other photography projects on themes ranging from temples in Asia to young Americans. Currently Oh is working with the Korean Cultural Heritage Association and the Overseas Korean Heritage Foundation to document how the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Logan Circle has changed in the years since 1870, when the Korean Embassy was located in a building on the circle. The project involves making street portraits of local residents, their surroundings and institutions.