This painting is part of Young-Il Ahn's illustrious Water Series. For more than 30 years, Ahn has been attempting to capture the illusive, shimmering color and light of water in his paintings. This painting is one of a handful of works in Ahn's Water Series to feature nuanced horizon lines, reflecting upon the experience he had being shipwrecked, which helped inspire this series.
In 2017, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) acquired part of this series and then presented Unexpected Light: Works by Young Il Ahn, the first solo exhibition of a Korean American artist at LACMA. Curated by Virginia Moon, LACMA's assistant curator of Korean art, the exhibition featured 10 large oil paintings from Ahn's Water Series. Moon wrote at the time, "The Water series (1983–ongoing) takes inspiration from [Ahn's] experience of being lost on the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Monica. In 1983, Ahn was aboard a small fishing boat when he was caught in a fog so dense that he could not see his hands in front of his face; suddenly, the fog cleared, revealing sunlight on the water all around him. This vision and experience would shape his practice for decades to come."