KCAD MFA Student Wins 3rd Place in 94th Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition

Posted October 3, 2023 in Student, MFA

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Master of Fine Arts student Seongbae Cho has been named the 3rd place winner in the 94th Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition.

The storied and highly competitive juried exhibition is one of the longest running events of its kind in the state. Cho’s landscape painting “Mammoth Hot Springs-Upper Terraces” was one of six winning works chosen from over 200 accepted entries. Accepted and winning entries were selected by internationally recognized multimedia artist and filmmaker Etsuko Ichikawa.

Man standing next to paintingKCAD MFA student Seongbae Cho posing next to his painting "Mammoth Hot Springs-Upper Terraces" - winner of 3rd Place in the 94th Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition (credit: Kristina Broughton / Muskegon Museum of Art)

The recognition represents another step forward in a burgeoning art career for Cho, who has exhibited extensively throughout his native South Korea and began showing his work in America in 2019, including entries in ArtPrize 2021 and 2022.

“This award is a tremendous honor for me. It symbolizes an achievement in my continuous journey as an artist navigating a different language and culture,” Cho said, “I'm grateful for this recognition, which reflects my dedication and effort. I would like to express my gratitude to the individuals associated with this event and to my family for their support.”

landscape painting of hot springs“Mammoth Hot Springs-Upper Terrace” by Seongbae Cho (image courtesy of the artist)

Both “Mammoth Hot Springs-Upper Terraces” and “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”—another landscape painting of Cho’s accepted into the exhibition—were inspired by the artist’s admiration of classic American landscape artists as well as his own adventures through America’s natural wonders.

Painting of the grand canyon"Grand Canyon of Yellowstone” by Seongbae Cho (image courtesy of the artist)

“I was inspired by landscape paintings of Hudson River School painters such as Tomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church. Their paintings drew me to travel through the American wilderness and create landscape art,” Cho said. “I was also influenced by the ideas of American photographer Ansel Adams, who said, ‘In my mind's eye, I visualize how a particular... sight and feeling will appear on a print.’”

Taking a page from Adams’ book, Cho pulled out his camera wherever he encountered a landscape worth remembering. He then used the photographs as references to create a series of stunning paintings that immerse the viewer in both the intricate detail and awe-inspiring splendor of the scenes before him.  

“I felt a profound connection to the environment, as if I was in paradise while exploring the areas,” Cho recalled. “These landscape paintings are infused with my emotions.”

The 94th Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition is on view now through November 8, 2023 at the Muskegon Museum of Art. See more of Seongbae Cho's creativity on his artist website or on Instagram @seongbae_cho_art.

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