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Se Jong Cho, Black Widow, acrylic on canvas, 2020, 32 x 32 inches



Lives and works in Baltimore, MD.

Seoul, South Korea, 1978

BS Civil Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

MS Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

MSE Environmental Management and Economics, Johns Hopkins University

PhD Environmental Engineering and Policy Analysis,Johns Hopkins University




Se Jong Cho is an environmental engineer and self-taught painter who embraces science’s counterpoint: art and creativity. She paints forms that offer intriguing entryways into the surreal, an artform that is equally concerned with reality (based in science) and with the mind’s unconscious thoughts (where creativity exists). In surrealist art, one finds juxtaposed objects and settings that make no sense. But the Surrealists were also interested in those scenarios as pathways to the unconscious and subconscious—in their terms, into one’s dreams—for in dreams one’s true nature is revealed. Fascinated by botany and the sun, Cho finds poetry in the intermingling of science and artistic creativity. Her works sit at this intersection of dreams and reality.

Cho’s paintings featuring eclipses and other celestial bodies remind us that the sun is life sustaining, and eclipses are a spectacular and unusual reminder of its centrality. In her work, the sun brings together concerns about the fragility of human existence in a world and universe that we have no hope of controlling. It is also a universal presence in our human experience, tying our prehistoric origins to our future. Cho’s work reminds us that all living things—plants, animals, and humans alike—are dependent on each other and on the power of the star we call the sun. The artist’s science background comes to the fore along with a sense of wonder about the miraculousness of all the systems that make up the planet’s flora and fauna, as well as our existence on this blue orb.

Cho is a self-taught artist and holds a BS in civil engineering from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; a MS in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; a MSE in environmental management and economics from Johns Hopkins University; and a PhD in environmental engineering and policy analysis from Johns Hopkins University. Her work has been exhibited nationally and can be found in numerous private collections.