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Quiet Work at a Time of Sensory Overload

Quiet Work at a Time of Sensory Overload

Quiet Paintings at a Time of Sensory Overload

Kim Hyung-dae, “Halo 17-0920” (2017), acrylic on canvas, 57 x 57 inches (all pictures Alex Paik/Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — Two concurrent solo portray exhibits on view at Helen J Gallery supply quiet and introspective areas for reflection. Each exhibits demand gradual, shut, in-person trying and are reminders of how radical that have can really feel amid a tradition of urgency and sensory overload.

For her work in In Stillness Like a Mirror, Korea-based painter Kim Mikyung makes use of a sparse geometric language consisting of vertical or horizontal bars, overlapping rectangles, and contours. The perimeters and sides of the work trace on the artist’s means of slowly obscuring the darker and extra saturated colours beneath a number of layers of progressively lighter paint that has been sanded and burnished. As a result of the ensuing multilayered surfaces are matte, they maintain the sunshine in order that it bounces round inside the a number of layers earlier than returning to the viewer, giving the work a deep, luminous glow. The sanding additionally results in refined variations in these off-white fields, as in “Summer season Rain No. 2” (2022), the place the cooler white rectangle in the midst of the canvas reveals variations in temperature, and area, as your eyes regulate to the portray.

Three sq. works from the artist’s sequence Pores and skin of the time are hung as a triptych for the present. In these items, the layering of the oblong kinds is extra pronounced, and the slight aid alongside their edges catches the sunshine because the viewer’s gaze strikes throughout the work. Every of those work additionally incorporates a horizontal coloured pencil line. A skinny neon-yellow pencil line traverses the floor of the central portray, “Pores and skin of the time (2022-5)” (2022). The loud vibrancy of this yellow is jarring amid the portray’s hushed grays, and it’s a real shock to appreciate that it was hiding in plain sight. In “White on white (2022-5)” (2022), three horizontal graphite traces sit on totally different planes: one on the floor, one buried beneath a couple of layers of paint, and one barely perceptible, creating an virtually infinite sense of depth. Small particulars like this really feel monumental inside Kim Mikyung’s sparsely populated portray world.

The place Kim Mikyung’s course of suggests an obsessive burrowing into the self, Kim Hyung-dae casts his gaze upward and outward into the sky. Now in his 80s, Kim Hyung-dae was one of many youthful artists from the dansaekhwa group that emerged in postwar Korea, the place he nonetheless lives and works. His strategy to portray, though grounded within the types and strategies of his elder dansaekhwa artists, differs in its use of vivid colours and direct references to the surface world. Appropriately titled 5-Coloured Gentle, the present is a continuation of Kim Hyung-dae’s five-decade Halo sequence. The halo has lengthy been seen in varied folks traditions and religions as a premonition of future occurrences, a herald of great occasions, or an indication from the non secular world, and this sense of quiet surprise permeates these artworks. 

Kim Mikyung, “Summer season rain No.2” (2022), blended media on linen, 38 1⁄4 x 38 1⁄4 inches 

The way in which that the sunshine bounces off and in between the feel of the paint, which has been blended to an icing-like consistency and utilized in vertical or horizontal stripes with customized rake-like instruments, mixed with the optical distinction between the totally different colours, creates a shocking shimmering impact, mimicking the best way gentle may be seen underneath the particular atmospheric situations that may create halo-like results. A very profitable instance of that is “Halo 17-0920” (2017), through which the pinks and blues optically combine to create a buzzing visible impact. In a more moderen work, “Halo 22-0309” (2022), the artist creates an virtually prismatic impact by changing the largely monochrome grounds of previous work with horizontal bars of various colours. As a result of our binocular imaginative and prescient permits us to learn slight variations in floor texture and depth, these results are inconceivable to seize with a flattened digital picture created by a monocular digital camera. 

With these two exhibits hung in neighboring rooms on the similar gallery, it’s pure to contemplate how they work collectively. Kim Mikyung’s work draw the viewer in for a detailed, cautious inspection of their surfaces. Her course of is subtractive, slowly obscuring the contrasts and paint layers by a prolonged means of sanding and burnishing. The ensuing surfaces carry the ghostly vestiges of the labor-intensive course of and but venture a refined grace, by no means feeling overworked. They require the eyes to take a couple of minutes to regulate earlier than revealing the wealthy contrasts and discoveries inside each bit. 

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Kim Hyung-dae, in contrast, has a extra additive course of, counting on optical mixing and shadows forged on thick impasto paint to realize their wealthy visible expertise. They’re greatest appreciated at a distance, with a relaxed eye that permits the weather of the portray to visually combine. The paint utility is extra direct and literal on the floor — the viewer can observe alongside to learn the totally different ranges of strain that the artist used when dragging his rake-like instrument throughout the canvas. These work refuse to be correctly learn by the short, scanning look with which we’ve been conditioned to eat pictures by the over-saturation of digital content material through social media and gallery emails. They demand that the viewer be current, actually and figuratively, earlier than they reveal themselves totally.

After spending time these work, armed with a stage of consciousness and a spotlight to element that the work in these two exhibits demand of the viewer, I discovered myself noticing issues in regards to the gallery area that I hadn’t earlier than. Within the means of these work, viewers change into conscious about the relationships between materials, shade, kind, and picture. These artists remind us of the significance and energy of gradual, deliberate, in-person trying by rewarding us with quiet moments of magnificence, discovery, and even internal readability.

Kim Hyung-dae, “Halo 22-0309” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches 
Kim Mikyung, “Pores and skin of the time (2022-5)” (2022), blended media on linen, 38 1⁄4 x 38 1⁄4 inches every

Kim Mikyung: In Stillness Like a Mirror and Kim Hyung-dae: 5-Coloured Gentle proceed at Helen J Gallery (929 Cole Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles) by April 1. The exhibitions had been organized by the gallery.

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