Min Hye Kim
Min Hye Kim paints landscapes with a brush and a palette knife. The exhibition title, Brick, refers to the buildings or chunks of light that frequently appear in her paintings, but also to the shape, texture, and composition of the individual touches of the brush and knife. Her brushstrokes resemble pixels, or painting units, yielding an abstract space of intense contrast, emphasizing the balance between left and right or top and bottom.
In many of Kim’s landscapes, the horizon lies approximately one-third of the way up from the bottom of the plane. The lower third of the plane is often filled with a reflective surface, much like a lake or sea, vaguely reflecting the buildings that rise into the upper part of the painting. The dim shadows of the reflective surface convey a unique dreamlike atmosphere that is further emphasized by the palette of vivid colors, including emerald, pink, purple, and sky blue. Rippling with delicate tones and colors, her landscapes resemble the skylines of a mystical utopia, composed of dream, mirage, fantasy, and illusion.
Another obvious point of emphasis is light. In works such as Frozen Brick World, fragments of intense, radiant light heighten the impact of the dramatic themes. Kim’s bold use of strong light and contrast often acts like stage lighting, illuminating artful touches that are commonly seen in popular landscape paintings. Because of this, her paintings undeniably contain elements of kitsch.
Depending on their intention, these elements of kitsch could threaten the depth and validity of Kim’s surreal, dreamlike landscapes. However, the artist’s use of such elements might encompass conceptual reversal, parody, semiotics, etc. In works like Brick No. 10 and Brick No. 23, the pictorial plane is more immersive and more consistent with the theme of “brick.” At this stage of her young career, Min Hye Kim’s art still contains every possible path, and it will be exciting to see what direction she pursues moving forward.
Like playing with blocks, or like playing Tetris,
I stack square touches with a joyful heart.
Breaking them down again,
Filling the squares,
Emptying them again.
Amidst countless repetitions, I find a moment of supreme comfort, and finally my brush stops there.
from the artist’s notes