Excerpt of catalog essay from For Excellence, Museum of Art, Seoul National University, 2009

Maria Park's suite of eleven variously scaled paintings arranged on three differently
tinted walls of a rectangular gallery treat the movies and televised news programs as two
sides of the same coin: entertaining distractions that traffic in violence and desensitize
audiences to the horrors of human suffering. Painting plays an important role in Park's
mediation on the ways the mass media numbs us to the anguish and pain that is a
regular subject of the news and movies. As a medium that ranges from the most highly
valued and exquisitely nuanced Renaissance masterpieces to the lowliest, mass-
produced paint-by-number kits for children and hobbyists, painting's various formats
and attributes remind viewers that the news and movies not only have more in common
with each other than is usually assumed, but that their presentations of both fact and
fiction transform reality into an alienating, potentially dehumanizing illusion.

Titled "Manifest Destiny," Park's installation begins with images taken from international
news reports of the Lebanon War in 2006 as well as two venerated films: Stanley Kubrick's
"2001: A Space Odyssey," from 1968, and Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch," from 1969.
The iconic images from the Hollywood movies initially clash with the chaotic, unscripted, and
unstaged street-scenes from Lebanon. But Park has painted everything equally, in acrylic on
various types of plastic and in a manner that recalls the flattened simplicity of printed
posters and the one-color-to-a-shape tidiness of paint-by-number kits. This equalizing
gesture unifies the Germany-born, New York-based artist's installation of excerpted
fragments and, more important, heightens a visitor's awareness of the layers of mediation
that intervene between us and the world in which we live, making instant-access a myth.

David Pagel