This painting is part of a recent series Ahn initiated in the early 2000s. In 1966, Ahn moved permanently to the US, settling first in New York, and soon afterward moving to Los Angeles, where he still lives and works today. His mature work is heavily influenced by California light and beach culture. Frequently his work suggests natural subjects such as birds, the beach, water and sunlight. In this series of highly personal and introspective abstract works, Ahn turns inward for the source of his inspiration.
The written characters in the painting come from Hangul, the contemporary Korean writing system, an alphabet produced in 1443 by King Sejong the Great, intended to be easy to learn and to read. Hangul is organized to have 2 to 3 letters per block, creating a complete phoneme. In this painting, Young-Il Ahn wrote Hangul in the traditional style, which is vertical rather than horizontal. He erased most of the letters, rendering the text completely unreadable, and therefore abstract. The formal aesthetic qualities of the writing also represent the grid, which is so important to all of Young-Il Ahn's paintings.
Observed one curator on the matter, "I think there's something to be considered in that an artist's hand is influenced by the motor skills developed in writing text, like Cy Twombly scribbles having a relationship with cursive, or Russian Suprematist works having this hard-turn-angle thing like Cyrillic. The logic of both the organization and the execution of the marks in this painting relates back to the writing Young-Il Ahn would have been doing at a very young age."