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Gallery Hyundai
122 Sagan-dong, Chongro-ku,
Seoul 110-190,
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Kim Jong Hak - Solo Exhibition
by Gallery Hyundai
Location: Gallery Hyundai Main Space
Artist(s): Jong Hak KIM
Date: 1 May - 27 May 2012

Kim Chong Hak has made his home within the Mt. Seorak National Park for over twenty years. Seorak’s scenery has continued to occupy Kim Chong Hak’s canvas for all those years. Since Kim lives in Seorak, it is only natural that he deals with its scenery. For this reason, Kim has earned the endearing title, “Painter of Seorak.” One may think this is akin to the instances where certain artists are dubbed “the painter of the mountain” or “the painter of the sea,” depending on their main subject. However, Kim’s title as the “painter of Seorak” categorically differs from the designation that originates from the main subject matter. This is not because Kim uses Seorak’s landscape as an object to paint, but because he paints the appearance of Seorak that he has internalized within himself. It can be said that Kim draws not Seorak per se but the inner landscape of an artist residing in Seorak. This may be why there is no sense of perspective on his canvas as to express a certain distance among objects. A fixed distance is maintained neither among objects near and far nor among those that are placed in the foreground and background. Objects near and far lie side by side on the same plane; objects in the foreground and in the background transcend the order of spacing and instead mingle together on his canvas. All objects of Seorak occupy the same vantage point vis.

Also, his canvas does not purport to express anything; it is simply content to express. The vividness of the materials and the bold and unrestrained execution greet the viewer directly and forcefully. The sticky, viscous texture of oil paints comes alive through masterful uses of brush strokes, applied sometimes in a slick, conjoined manner and sometimes by slathering the paints. Amidst the outcry that art has disappeared from our society, Kim’s paintings prove to us that art has managed to survive and prosper. That is probably why many people are so relieved to see his paintings.

By Kwang Su Oh (Art Critic)

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