Mike Ryczek joins a Korean Adoptee on her first return to Seoul and paints his experience

Decline and Fall © Mike Ryczek. Via Creative Boom submission. All images courtesy of the artist.

For his latest series, Boston artist Mike Ryczek wanted to explore the complex identity issues surrounding international adoption, following a trip to South Korea with his partner who is a Korean American Adoptee.

"The trip was set in motion when we decided to attend a week-long gathering of adoptees from around the world," explains Mike. "Having not yet travelled outside of the US nor having any firsthand experience with international adoption myself, I was able to learn about identity issues that can arise from the experiences of other adoptees and explore a city that was as foreign to me as it was to my Korean-American partner."

The series is based on photos taken by both Mike and his partner. The photos have been collaged, added to and manipulated before being translated into paint. "They speak to my raw sensory impressions of this new environment," says Mike, "the emotions and ideas I imagined being projected onto it because of my preconceptions of East Asian culture, and contemporary social issues specific to Korea that I learned about both during and after our stay in Seoul."

This series will be exhibited for a solo show by 13Forest Gallery in Arlington, Massachusetts, launching in January 2020.

Nursery © Mike Ryczek

Nursery © Mike Ryczek

Han © Mike Ryczek

Han © Mike Ryczek

Passage © Mike Ryczek

Passage © Mike Ryczek