Brightness, abstraction and a focus on nature’s calming power seem to be elements that Korean artists hold dear. ‘Mountain Series’ by Min Kyung Kim, is a selection of works recently shown at Roth Gallery. Her works capture the Korean aesthetic in a special way. Notes on the show are helpful in outlining this Korean Aesthetic and it’s origins:
“Historically, landscape art has been the most esteemed mode of painting in Korea. Portrayal of monumental and awe-inspiring natural subjects was the preferred art of the elite, where as the portrayal of everyday human activities was the domain of the middle or lower class.
The importance of landscape paintings could be partially due to the unique geography of the country… Due to the mountain ranges that divide the country, there was limited cultural exchange, resulting in each area developing a distinct dialect and culture. Such circumstances created a rich diversity for the country as a whole” from notes on the exhibition by Jeewon Song; Curator, Roth Gallery.
Kim works with paper, a burning process and colour. The works are a study of the landscape. They convey a subliminal focus on well-being, layering the soothing power of the land with the soothing power of colour. Traditional rice paper techniques are employed, with the additional use of a soldering iron to create holes in the surface. The use of complementary colours is a also a new approach to the traditional. Coloured papers are sandwiched together. The soldering process produces what is almost a lace-like sheet and the interplay of colours through this layering is truly vibrant.
Kim is currently completing her MFA through the Department of Oriental Painting,College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea and also through Pennsylvania State University. Her last solo show was at Seoul Art Center in 2008.