Art Projects International
Born in Korea, now living in New York City, this painter works on a large scale in black and white acrylic. The canvas surfaces are scuffed and stained, setting up smudgy, accidental landscapes, with mountains defined here and there by clusters of curved lines. The dominant forms, though, are crowds of tiny human figures swarming out to the paintings' edges. By thinning his pigment down to the gray, soaked-in consistency of ink on absorbent paper, Mr. Kim makes clear references to a long, contemplative tradition of Asian brush painting. At the same time his figures, often looking both panicked and bellicose, suggest narratives with a distinctly post-nuclear spin.
Previously this artist has collaged photographic images from recent history -- the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Korean War -- into his work. They are absent here, though their sense of disquiet remains. The results aren't earth-shattering, but they suggest one of the many ways, on the conservative end of the spectrum in this case, that contemporary Asian artists are drawing ideas from a blend of Western and non-Western traditions.
– Holland Cotter