The Elaborate Fantasies

by Michelle Grabner


Pure, fantastical thinking drives the chimerical images that materialize in Chae Eun’s paintings. Diaphanous scrims of color drift together to suggest figures in dreamscapes thick with otherworldly air. Compelled to intricately construct narratives comprised of moody innocence and enchanted wonderment, Chae Eun prefers the wide, magical thinking of childhood over the coarse narrow intellect defining adult reasoning. This is not to say that her work advocates for an ever-present Peter Pan condition. Instead her practice crusades for magical thinking inside of reasoning and adulthood.

In her pictures, Chae Eun reminds us that imagination, awe, and curiosity are not escapist pursuits, instead they are basic human activities that we must indulge in order to be compassionate, empathetic, and tolerant beings. The beauty of her images pulls us into her worlds but once we are in a logical evaluation of subject and space is useless in understanding the paintings mysteries.

We have to exercise our own magical thinking when we look into Chae Eun’s elaborate fantasies. And our elastic mediation on her paintings is rewarded with profound yet intuitive delight.