Minjung Kim’s aesthetic is expressive minimalism with traces of 17th and 18th century Japanese ink paintings, yet these images are unquestionably contemporary. The handmade Mulberry Hanji that Kim employs comes from the inner bark of the Paper Mulberry tree, which is native to Korea and flourishes well on its rocky mountainsides. Hanji, Korean for paper, is known for its durability. The oldest existing Mulberry Hanji in Korea is 800 years old. Kim’s ability to create soft, delicate imagery stands in marked contrast to the resilience of the paper. This is elegantly evidenced in Red Mountain, 2014, a seemingly humble composition of an evolving spectrum of red watercolor from which a mountainous landscape emerges. The craggy strata materialize and then nearly disappear in misty, spectral peaks with dramatic density that ebbs and flows like the tide across the picture plane.
Included in the exhibition are new interpretations of Minjung Kim’s distinctive paper collage compositions, as in The Street, 2015. Water-colored Mulberry Hanji is burned, assembled in copious layers and collaged resulting in a dynamic interplay of light, depth and a mist of perception. Energy is channeled through the extraordinary control of Kim’s hand, her pyrotechnic treatment of the paper and the masterful synthesis of color and collage culminating into enclaves of elliptical constellations. Kim explains, “The movement, the colors, they are so calm and peaceful. They are my state of mind.” Similar to Lucio Fontana, Kim feels a need to break through and go beyond the surface, which in her medium of choice is handmade paper. The work expressly conveys her philosophy that all of humanity is interconnected; paths cross at unforeseen moments, journeys collectively predestined and inexorably intertwined.
Minjung Kim is Korean by birth, but has long since adopted Europe as home where she lives and works with studios in Milan and the South of France. The confluence of Asian and European influences is apparent in her aesthetic internationalist approach, which represents a highly individualized synthesis of East and West. Strains of Daoist, Buddhist and Korean thought have influenced her, as well as her experience in Western art.
Exhibition Dates: May 21 – July 2, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 5 – 7pm
Leslie Sacks Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Avenue, B6
Santa Monica, CA