Spring 2019 Exhibits


Koo Kyung Sook_Markings 18-4
Markings 18-4 2018 (detail)
relief woodcut and collage
38.75 x 229.5 inches

Koo Kyung Sook: Markings

February 7 - May 17, 2019

Koo Kyung Sook: Markings comprises multiple series of works that seek to present the experience of human life. Koo began working with this theme after undergoing medical treatment in 2004. As a result of all the body scans from her treatment, she began to understand how intricate the body is as a biological collaboration between the visible and the invisible in order to maintain the life of the body. As an organic structure, the physical body continuously evolves in a dynamic interaction with its environment. This continuous flow offers Koo significant insights to the complexity of biological, psychological and emotional flux. The duality between the internal and external as well as the physical and spiritual is evident in her creative process. 

Koo does not have any particular images in her mind when she starts her work. Instead, she makes hundreds of improvised marks with everyday substances, such as bubble wrap, tinsel-like fabric, plastic bags, and a wig. She then, follows her intuition in the process of constructing, discovering, and reconstructing the selected marks to join them together to create figurative images. As a result, the energy of the life force is generated by these complex structures of markings. In Koo’s work the markings are analogous to the essential elements of the body such as water, lymph, cells, veins, and blood. By manipulating the impressions that are cut and carved in wood blocks, and then moving oil ink fluidly on the woodcut surface, her marks convey an awareness to tangible and intangible forces. Koo experiments with traditional and contemporary printing technologies as well as a range of media including photography, painting, and collage, and combines them all into her multi-media process. 

This exhibition features 19 large-scale works, including one collaborative painting, two digital prints, and 16 relief woodcuts created since 2014. The most recent works span approximately 20 feet in length. They are constructed from recycled fragments of woodcuts. Through a painstaking process of subtraction, addition, pushing, and pulling, the contrasting opposites of yin-yang emerges. Koo’s Markings not only allude to her desire for life, growth, struggle and survival, but also becomes the viewers’ desire to celebrate their own lives and surroundings.



City of Refuge: Refugees in Sacramento, 1975-Present

Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam in 1984
Refugees fleeing Vietnam in 1984

Curated by Patrick Ettinger, Ph.D, Department of History, Sacramento State
April 9-26, 2019

Beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the present, Sacramento has been a prominent destination for refugees from around the globe. It welcomed thousands of war refugees from Southeast Asia (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian) in the decades after 1975. In the late 1980s and 1990s, thousands of religious refugees from the former Soviet Union (Ukrainian, Russian, and others) settled in this region. The horrors of the Balkan wars in the 1990s sent additional refugees seeking sanctuary (most notably, Bosnians) to the Sacramento region. And since approximately 2003, repercussions from the “war on terror” have produced waves of refugees from the Middle East, with Iraqi and Afghani families predominant. No wonder, then, that the region boasts one of the larger per capita refugee populations in the nation.

Despite the sizeable presence of refugee families in the Sacramento region, their stories remain relatively invisible. This exhibit explores the history of refugee resettlement in our region with an eye on the various groups of refugees from 1975 to today.  Drawing on oral history interviews, personal artifacts, newspaper coverage, photographs, and other materials, the exhibit places these refugee streams in their historical contexts, relates refugees' personal stories, and considers our community’s varied responses to their arrival.

As individuals reluctantly dislocated from their homelands, often in traumatic fashion, refugees face a distinct set of challenges, including psychological, health, educational, language, and economic handicaps unique to their journeys. This exhibit honors their stories and invites our campus community to acknowledge and celebrate the history of refugees in our region. Hopefully, it may also help foster an intelligent, learned, and productive conversation on a subject of national and international concern.

Wednesday, April 17, 4:30-6 p.m.

“Searching for America”
Guest Speaker:  Journalist Steve Magagnini

As a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, journalist Steve Magagnini provided exceptional and award-winning coverage of Sacramento’s refugee communities and the resettlement process.  He is well regarded in the various refugee communities and served on the advisory board for the “City of Refuge” exhibit. In his talk, he will reflect on his years covering refugee issues.

Moderator:  Dr. Patrick Ettinger, Department of History
Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Society of Professional Journalists at Sacramento State

Thursday, April 18, 4:30-6 p.m.

"Understanding Refugee Experiences"

A panel of refugees, including Hmong and Mien individuals who fled Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War as well as more recent refugees from Bosnia and Iraq, will discuss their experiences as refugees resettling in Sacramento.

Moderator: Dr. Bao Lo, Department of Ethnic Studies

Tuesday, April 23, 4:30-6 p.m.

"Allies and Interpreters: Refugees and American Armed Forces"

This panel addresses the experiences of refugees who assisted American military efforts in their homelands. Refugees from American wars in Laos and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. Army veterans with experience working with interpreters in Iraq and Afghanistan, will discuss the importance of the Special Immigrant Visa program. 

Moderator:  Dr. Patrick Ettinger, Department of History

Note:  All presentations and panels will be held in the University Library Gallery, adjacent to the “City of Refuge” exhibit.