The picture screen is very flat. But on this plane are paints and objects that exist as if they were living things and various symbols unique to the artist virtually covering the entire picture screen like grass or stones. All these elements come together as one in a strange way to make for an alluring artwork. Oh Se-Yeol incorporates painting, collage, objets, and sculpture into his work. On the surface are scribbles and things playful and mischievous the artist did when merely following his heart. Coincidental and spontaneous, his artistic practice has a cycle to it. The series of numbers repeated over and over again and lines and symbols that are not self-contained and impossible to comprehend appear all over the surface, with flowers and birds in collage juxtaposed among them seemingly in secret. Thus painting, collage, and objets coexist on the surface as one: their innate differences seem to disappear. The picture screen itself has already become a background, and the saturation of traces of solidity and other properties of matter, the distant past, and the process of weathering creates a surface on the picture screen that makes for a durable art object that almost appears to be a sculpture. Everything on the picture screen seems to project naturally out of or from the substrate. This is a painting that is not separated from the surface, a painting that constantly creates and nourishes the complicity of association of the content and form using the ground as support.
Oh Se-Yeol produces things to see and stimulates diverse senses on a rich picture screen through complex work, which incorporates images, materiality of paints, and abstractness of brushwork itself, writing of letters and numbers, and attaching of objects. His paintings are inarticulate, witty, and extremely natural. They are, however, mixed with considerable skill and processed with the very refined beauty of sculpture. His work encompasses diverse features: the color field of abstract painting based on minimalism and focus on properties of matter; use of the Readymade Strategy and borrowing of collage and combine painting; inclination for naturalism of traditional Korean art, and random, incidental aesthetics. However, the basis of Oh Se-Yeol’s painting is, more than anything else, to create images of certain traces left in his own memories and nostalgia. As they have somewhat faded from his memory, he cannot completely reproduce and visualize them, so he gropes with things in a faint and vague way, scribbles hesitantly, draws, paints, and rubs as if transforming the layers of distant time as material. He pushes on, desperately depending on his physical senses to remember everything from times past.
– Excerpt from “Oh Se-Yeol: Surface as Painting and Objet” | Park Young Taik · Professor at Kyonggi University, Art critic