Lorraine Nam

Cut paper is a medium deeply rooted in history and tradition.  In this way, I hope to modernize this cut paper medium. Light and shadow is also important in my work. The light transforms the two-dimensional paper by creating a shadow. The shadow indicates space, which allows the piece to become three-dimensional. These pieces are all cut from a single sheet of paper with an exacto blade.

1. This piece titled Rice Husband is one of three hand cut paper pieces about superstitions that my mother told me. I draw inspiration from my Korean background and upbringing and juxtapose these cultural symbols with more contemporary imagery. This particular one is about how my mother told me to finish every single grain of rice at every meal. If I didn't, each grain that I left behind will become a physical mark on my future husband's face.

2. This piece is titled Asphixiation. This particular work is about fan death. I first became acquainted to the idea of fan death when my mother got a phone call from Korea. Fan death occurs when a person is sleeping in an enclosed room (windows and doors closed) and the fan is left on. The fan somehow suffocates the sleeping person and kills him. Although this idea seems ridiculous, the notion of fan death is not uncommon in Korea. I was always intrigued by the idea of fan death and my mother's adamant insistence that it exists.

3. This piece is titled Gender Role. This piece talks more about gender role in Korean culture and the role of women in Korean society. As I was growing up, I was taught to help with the dishes and other chores. One time, I tried to coerce my younger brother to wash the dishes for me. My grandmother overheard me and told me that he absolutely could not do the dishes. I asked why not. To this she replied, "Because his penis will fall off."

4. & 5. These are both close-ups of the two pieces.

6. This shows my process in the gender role piece.

7. This piece is titled Joy Luck. This one again draws inspiration from the book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. "Before she leaves Shanghai, the woman buys a swan from a vendor, who tells her that the bird was once a duck. In an attempt to become a goose, the duck stretched its neck so far that it became a swan, exceeding its own hopes for itself. As the woman sails to America, she dreams of raising a daughter amid the plentiful opportunities of the new country. She imagines that her American-born daughter will resemble her in every way, except that, unlike her mother, she will be judged according to her own worth, not by that of a husband. Like the swan, the daughter will exceed all hopes, so the woman plans to give her daughter the swan as a gift. Yet, when the woman arrives in America, the immigration officials seize the swan and leave the woman with nothing but a feather. The daughter is born and grows up to be the strong, happy woman her mother had imagined. The woman still wishes to present the feather to her daughter and to explain its symbolic meaning, but for many years she holds back. She is still waiting “for the day she could [explain it] in perfect American English.”

8. This is a close-up of the Joy Luck piece.

9. A simple self-portrait.

10. The starling piece is about migration. It was a response to an editorial piece about how starlings are invading the land.

Lorraine Nam

website: www.lorrainenam.com

email: lorrainenam@gmail.com

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