Emography, a New Contemporary Art Genre, Is Introduced for the First Time in the US First Exhibition Opens at James Madison University

From: The Committee for the US Exhibition of Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae
Point of Contact: Ms. Young Yim, 571-215-9417 or

Korean Artist, Huh, Hwe-tae, has been invited to present his first US exhibition, Encore Series: The Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae, at James Madison University from September 28 to October 30, 2009. This exhibition comes on the heels of his widely-acclaimed 2006 German and 2008 Korean exhibitions. Eastern Mennonite University, the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C, George Mason University and the New York Cultural Center have also opened their doors to the artist from November 2, 2009 to April 20, 2010. This traveling exhibition demonstrates the artist’s contemporary painting known as Emography as well as elaborate seal engraving pieces.

Emography is a new art form that merges calligraphy and painting. Emography was invented in 2005 by Huh, Hwe-tae, Director of the Moosan Emographic Art Institute in Seoul, Korea. He uses enormous brushes to paint images on paper, ceramics, furniture or other media. At first glance, the viewer sees simple calligraphy characters. But, when viewed in depth, the characters transform into images and the images have a deeper meaning than their superficial appearance.

Mr. Huh won the Grand Prize at the 1995 National Art Exhibition, the most honorable art competition in Korea, and is one of the most renowned Korean calligraphic artists and seal engravers. With his US Tour, the artist seeks to introduce a new art genre to US audiences and to create a unique aesthetic experience combining ancient Asian calligraphy with modern painting techniques.

core Series: The Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae, opens at James Madison University’s Sawhill Gallery on September 28, 2009. For other US locations, visit  

Exhibition Overview

•The artist uses enormous brushes and paper. With a few skillful brushstrokes, he captures form, emotion, eternity, and the symbolism of a moment in an image painted on paper, ceramics, furniture or other media.

•With his US Tour, the artist seeks to introduce a new art genre to US audiences and to create a unique aesthetic experience combining ancient Asian calligraphy with modern painting techniques. Each exhibit will include a demonstration of these techniques, a lecture, gallery talk and public reception.

Exhibit Pieces

Emography: 39 pieces
Seal engraving: 150 pieces

Grand US Traveling Exhibition of Emographic Artist, Huh Hwe-tae

Encore Series: Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae at James Madison University:
Sawhill Gallery
September 28-Octoboer 30, 2009

Eastern Mennonite University: The Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae
Hartzler Gallery
November 2-December 13, 2009

Korean Embassy in Washington D.C: The Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae
January 11-February 10, 2010

George Mason University: Exhibit of Emographic Artist, Huh, Hwe-tae
Mason Hall Gallery
February 15- March 15, 2010

New York Cultural Center: An Invitational Exhibit of the Emography of Huh, Hwe-tae
Gallery Korea
March 20- April 20, 2010

About Emography

Emography is a new art form that merges calligraphy and painting. Emography was invented in 2005 by Huh, Hwe-tae, Director of the Moosan Emographic Art Institute in Seoul, Korea. Famed German-based art critic Ryu Byung-hak coined the term “emography” to describe this art genre where calligraphy merges with symbolism, form and imagery.

The emographist captures the symbolism of a moment in an image painted on paper, ceramics, furniture or other media. He expresses form and emotion in a few quick brushstrokes. The emographist uses painting, instead of simple words or characters, to express a commonality he shares with his viewers. The nature of the art allows the viewer to make his own interpretation of the artist’s intention.

At first glance, one sees simple characters. Upon viewing the piece in depth, the characters transform into images and the images have a deeper meaning than their superficial appearance.

The artist seeks to unleash the soul of the painting by creating an elaborate and illustrative depiction of its essence. Resulting from a pursuit of new artistry, emography is rooted in the traditional spiritual world of calligraphy, but is also a culmination of the emographist’s history as an artist, creator and scholar.



Views from the Artist Huh, Hwe-tae

Contemporary Expression in Paint Based on Calligraphy Characters

A mixture of calligraphy and painting is a traditional oriental combining diverse, affluent artistry with a time-honored history. Calligraphy and painting share the same ancient origin. They both use paper, brush, and ink as main medium. In both, a single slash of a brush can shape form and convey meaning, and represent shared philosophy and spirit. In terms of medium and expressiveness, calligraphy and painting influence one another profoundly.

Through my calligraphic painting, I have strived to embody the intricacies of Oriental calligraphic art by using a systematic approach to my paintings. I have come to realize traditional Oriental painting brings about form, fundamentally, through line. Contemporary calligraphy and painting art also pursues metaphysical and philosophical thoughts, to represent a lofty, spiritual world.

My work reflects a set of elements that allow viewers to have an aesthetic experience through calligraphy’s characters and nature’s disciplinary quality. I reinterpret nature’s objects through calligraphy and express them daringly with imaginative art, along with line delineation and formation. I express intensively a spiritual world by combining calligraphy and painting.

I depict all forms of nature in my work. The viewer sees, for example, widely unfolding, flowing clouds; swaying, sweeping willow trees; an eagle fluttering its wings and circling round a blue sky; a meandering river running through the earth; rain and wind; thunder and lightning; a running horse ; a menacing serpent; a flying dragon and phoenix; and a tiger at rest. These forms seek to express the profound meaning and deep spirituality within my work.

Explanation of Pieces

1: Whole, Boundless Freedom: 6’07’’(H) x 16’ 05’’(W)

This work shows the formation of a typical signifier network by the use of one single brushstroke. It depicts liveliness and vitality, condensing the forms of all creatures in heaven and earth based on its innate nature mental attitude. A single brushstroke starts a point of symmetry and stops its breath at an extreme, using thick and homogenous lines. A node heralding the onset of the work is made at a crossing point between a vertical line at the very right hand corner and an opaque curved line and continues to another node in the left hand corner. The process of termination is made between its middle and ending part. That is akin to a typical three-sectioned vein. By doing this, the artist eventually achieves the beauty of no laws and flowing water along with the principal of the beauty of brevity, employing brushwork that glitters like daylight and flows like a river.

Whole, Boundless Freedom

2: Soaring: 5’09’’(H) x 4’05’’(W)

Soaring captures a bird about to fly. It underlines the true nature of a bird by depicting it in rough, swift brushstrokes and heavy ink as its back; light ink as its belly. Like a human living a hectic life without comfort, the bird must keep flying without repose. But Soaring offers the bird time to take a rest in this reflection of nature, through heavy and light ink, brushstrokes fast and slow. This work intends to demonstrate the artist’s imagination in which the bird takes a rest, as a man does, escaping from his daily hectic life. Through a maximization of the swiftness and slowness of brushwork by applying thick or thin ink coloring, this work derived from an attempt to reflect nature.


3: Exclamation: 2’11’’(H) x 4’05’’(W)

By merging the elements of visual and auditory art with the thought and feeling of linguistic art, in this work the artist explores the freedom to express himself and the unique aesthetic value in a state of his heart united with a brush. He departs from the fixed notion of objects in calligraphic art, and breaks away from the restraint imposed by them, expressing the true nature of things more freely. Representing the beauty of movement, this work captures subtle, various mental images that seem like soaring, galloping, shouting, and passing over the wind, at the moment of creating work.


About Seal Engraving

Seal engraving is the art of expressing all styles of aesthetic calligraphy by engraving on a square inch of stone. Huh illustrated The Heart Sutra and Words of Wisdom and Renowned Verses publications with his own seal engraving pieces. Some of his seal engraving pieces are in Korean. These are a few pieces of his calligraphic and emographic work.

About Seal Engraving

Critics’ Opinions of Emography_

*By Bok-young Kim: President of Korean Society for Science of Art and Design Former Professor of Hongik University:

The world to be demonstrated through an interaction between writing and drawing is the world Huh has to christen, namely the world of ‘emography’. Huh aims to maximize the beauty of brevity by dealing with blank spaces, light and shade, strength and fastness, and properly adjusting the tension and relaxation of his brushstroke based on the use on the use of horizontal, vertical, and curved lines. With his command of brush, Huh carefully observes all the creatures of heaven and earth and space between them including their form and even sounds. His ‘emo-’ flows in this gaze. His ink brushwork never stops until he reaches a state of deep taste and profound meaning achieving a dignity and spirituality while soaring toward the universe.

*By Dong-guk Lee: Curator of Seoul Arts Center Calligraphy Museum:

While abstract art can be seen as the reduction of pure form to its fundamental elements such as dots and lines. Huh’s emography discards the form of an object and takes its inner shape. He encapsulates his feelings in dots and lines by using ink and brush maximizes them. This type of expression of emotions is linked to how to represent an artist’s true nature and disposition which is the essence of traditional calligraphy. Here we come to realize that his emography is not a mere pursuit of experimentation and abstractness. In this regard his emography is a work of traditional calligraphy and contemporary paintings well as abstract painting that fuses modernity, historicity, and legitimacy into calligraphy brush lines. Huh’s emographic work liberates the viewers from fear of interpretation and is an outlet for his emotion and deposition, in contrast with the existing literal abstraction that is obviously based on Western art and a reaction to traditional calligraphy.

*By Josan-sang Lee: Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University, Member of the National Academy of Arts

As Huh has extensively undergone the beauty of painting, calligraphy, and seal- engraving. In addition to his depth of sprit and experience, his brush strokes soar toward the sky like an ascending dragon. His brush seems to be dancing like a Shaman. His disposition as an artist will reach the highest level beyond anyone else along with his remarkable sense of reason.

*By Byung-hak Ryu: German-based Art Critic:

The tendency of Huh’s work appears to be apparently different from those of Mark Tobey(1890-1976), Adolf Gottlieb(1903-1974), and Franz Kline(1910-1962) who are all known to be influenced by East Asian calligraphy. In their pictures any similar elements to Huh’s are not found. This is why the three artists have never trained any traditional calligraphic techniques. Therefore, a state of ‘nothingness’ in style can be achieved by mastering all types of techniques, rather than simply refusing them or applying them differently. His work feels extremely intense and the brushwork seems innocent, ingenuous and bold as well. Huh’s emography is not a character to represent ideas but the trace of his own sensibility. His work seems to reflect one of cultural phenomena today that prefers images to letters. His work, however, is intended to have a dialog with the viewers not by existing symbols but by his own sensibility. This is the difference between emography and emoticon. Now it is your turn to decipher Huh, Hwe-tae’s emography.

Critic’s View of Seal Engraving

*By Hyung-jung Kim: President of Buddhist Missionary Society and Doctor of Literature

Moosan Huh, Hwe-tae has strived to achieve the highest level of calligraphy for 48 years. He is a master calligrapher and national calligrapher who, early in his career, secured The Grand Prize at the National Calligraphy Exhibition of Korea. Huh has created priceless, perfect, masterful work through his use of liberal, unrestricted brushstrokes seen with his keen, insightful eyes, like those of swordsman who cuts jade with extreme exactitude or stonemason who engraves the highly detailed image of Buddha. It is said a master mason only can see the image of Buddha: likewise, Huh is an artist of great eminence who engraves the words of Buddha flowing out of a tiny gem.

The History of Artist Huh, Hwe-tae

Huh, Hwe-tae (born in 1957), at the age of five, started to study Chinese classics from his uncle, a renowned scholar in this field. Thus, his learning of calligraphy was quite naturally accepted. As a middle school student, he exhibited at the art show hosted by the Korean and Canadian Culture Foundation, where his entry garnered a grand prize.

In 1975(at age 15), he won the most outstanding award at the National Middle School and High School Students Calligraphy Exhibition hosted by Sungkyunkwan University.

In 1995, when he was 38, Huh won the grand prize at the Korea National Art Exhibition with his entry of a work titled Dawn in Spring. This winning of the grand prize set a new milestone in his calligraphic career.

He has been engrossed in calligraphy for almost 50 years and involved with a variety of genres including traditional calligraphic styles such as Jeonseo (seal script), Yeaseo (clerical/official script), Haeseo (regular/standard script), Hangseo (semi-cursive/running script), Choseo (cursive/grass script), Korean alphabet styles, seal engraving, the ‘four gentleman’ (plum blossoms, orchids, chrysanthemums, bamboo) and even ceramics.

Seal engraving is an inevitable axis of his calligraphy and emography. His calligraphy is obviously distinguished from others in that he has command of both seal engraving and letters simultaneously and has then expanded them to emography.

In 2005, he invented emography, a word created from emotion and calligraphy. The new style must be, of course, based on previous ones. This stage means to have one’s own style, rather than posses nothing, namely to depart from all established styles and techniques.

At the 2006 exhibition in Germany, he touched western viewers and his emography raised an intense interest and acclaim.

His first US Traveling Exhibition will be held at five renowned institutes from September 29, 2009 to April 20, 2010.

More details about his artistic history will follow as…..

Profile of Artist, Huh, Hwe-tae

Pen Names
Moo-san, Bong-du-san-bang-joo-in, Han-gol, Mae-sul-hun, and Moo-gon-ghun

Brief Bio
*Born in Suncheon, Jeollanam-Do, Republic of Korea, 1957
*Over 47 years of art work starting from calligraphy since the age of five
*Emographic Artist -“The Creator of Emography”
*Director of Moosan Emographic Art Institute, Seoul, Korea
*Lecturer, Art Center Calligraphy Hall, Seoul, Korea
*Member of Advisory Committee for World Art Federation
*Member of International Art Cooperative Organization
*Member of Korea Fine Arts Association

*M.F.A. in Korean Painting, Sang-myung University, Seoul, Korea
*B.A. in Chinese Culture, Nam Seoul University, Seoul, Korea
*Graduate Diploma, Kumho High School, Gwangju, Korea

Invitational Exhibitions
*Korea Grand Art Exhibition (Calligraphic section), Seoul, Korea
*Grand Seoul Calligraphic Works, Seoul, Korea
*Kyongki-Do Exhibition, Korea
*Jeollanam-Do Exhibition, Gwangju, Korea
*Gwangju City Grand Art Exhibition, Gwangju, Korea

Solo Exhibitions
*Emography – 47 Years of Huh Hwe-tae’s Artistic Circles in Calligraphy, Paintings and Seal-engraving, Seoul Arts Center Calligraphy Museum, Seoul, Korea, 2008
*Korean Culture Center, Berlin, Germany (Emography), 2006
*Calligraphy & Painting Art Festival, Seoul, Korea, 2004
*Korea Grand Art Festival, Seoul, Korea, 2002
*Jinkwang Association Art Exhibition, Seoul, Korea, 1987
*Kumho High School Art Exhibition, Gwangju, Korea, 1975

*Calligraphy Culture Award, Monthly Calligraphy, 2005
*Wongok Calligraphy Contest, 1996
*Grand Prize at Korea Grand Calligraphy Exhibition, 1995
*Honor Prize at National Grand Seal Carving Calligraphic Works Exhibition, Art Gallery, 1992
*Special Prize, National Grand Calligraphic Works Exhibition, 1991
*Winner, Dong-ah Art Festival, 1985-1995 (five times)
*Winner, National Grand Art Calligraphic Works Exhibition, 1985-1994 (seven times)
*Special Prize, Jeollanam-Do Grand Art Exhibition, 1974-1985 (ten times)
*Grand Prize in Calligraphic section, Korea-Canada International Art Exhibition

Professional Services
Served as Juror and Director for the following:
*Korea Grand Art Exhibition, Korea
*Gwangju City Exhibition, Korea
*International Student Calligraphic Stylers Exhibitions, China
*National Grand Ancient Poems Calligraphic Works Exhibitions, Korea
*National Grand Calligraphic Works Exhibitions, Korea
*New Millennium Calligraphic Stylers Exhibition, Korea
*Gwangju Biennale National Calligraphic Works Exhibition, Korea
*National Supreme Grand Art Works Exhibition, Korea
*National Womanhood Contest for Composition Sponsorship of MBC, Korea
*Incheon City Exhibition, Korea
*Jeonnam City Exhibition, Korea
*National Calligraphic Works Exhibition, Korea
*Korea the Oriental Art Works Exhibition, Korea

Committee and Evaluator Work
-Invited as a Distinguished Artist for the following:
*Taiwan International Calligraphy Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan, 2006
*Korea Grand Art Exhibition, Seoul Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 2005
*Korea Grand Art Exhibition, Seoul Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 2004
*Korea Grand Art Exhibition, Seoul, Korea, 2003
*Korea Calligraphic Artist Works Exhibition, Kyonggi University, Seoul, Korea , 2002
*21Century Korea Calligraphic Artist Works Exhibition, Sungkyunkwan University Museum, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea, 2001
*International Kapkol Calligraphic Stylers Grand Dictionary, Jungwha International Publishing Company, China, 2000 and 2001
*Seoul City Grand Calligraphic Works Exhibition, City Art Museum, Seoul, Korea, 1999
*Invited Artist in International Calligraphy Junbok Biennale Exhibition, Jeollabuk-Do Cultural Hall, Jeonju, Korea, 1999
*National Grand Calligraphic Works Exhibition, City Art Museum, Seoul, Korea, 1998
*Kangso Province Kapkol Academic Association Exhibition, Gallery of Kangso Province, China, 1997
*Hangul (Korean Language) Calligraphy Exhibition, Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 1996
*Korea-China Calligraphy Exchange Exhibition, Namkyung Museum, China, 1996
*Korean Seal-engraving Great Exhibition, Woonhyun Place, Seoul, Korea, 1995
*Korea-China Exchanging Calligraphic Works, Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 1995
*Special Art Exhibition, Woonhyun Place, Seoul, Korea, 1994
*Hangul Calligraphic Grand Festival, King Sejong Cultural Center, Seoul, Korea, 1992
*Hangul Calligraphic Grand Festival, Sejong Cultural Center, Seoul, Korea, 1992
*International Nanjing Calligraphic Stylers Association, National President Commemoration Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, 1992
*Korea Art Committee Exhibition, Korea National Contemporary Museum, Seoul, Korea, 1992
*Junnam, Gwangju Recommand Calligrapher Works Exhibition, Namdo Art Center, Gwangju, Korea, 1989
*Korea Youth Calligrapher Works Exhibition, Art Center, Seoul, 1988, 1990, 1993
*Aspects of Contemporary Korea Art, Yeosu International Art Festival, 2008
*Collage, Gwangiu Museum of Art Sangnok Exhibition Hall Inaugural Exhibition, 2008

“Treatise on Ann Jin-Kyoung Calligraphic Stylers”
“Artistic Presentation Form Meaning the Life of Seal-engraving”
Written by Back-ji and Translated by Huh, Hwe-tae
“Study on Contemporary Expression of Paintings Based on Calligraphy
And My Works”: Master’s Thesis
“The Heart Sutra Represented in Seal Engraving Art”
“Wise Sayings and Eminent Poems Represented in Seal Engraving Art”

Points of Contact
*Postal Address:
Moosan Emographic Art Institute 984-1, Meorijae Building #307
Bangbae-Dong, Seocho-Gu Seoul 137-060 Republic of Korea
Korea: Tel: +82 2 588-3324 Cell: +82 17 736-3324
USA: Director: Ms. Young Yim: Cell: 571-215-9417