10/31/2016 06:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Grafting to: Recent works by Joohyun Kangi


Joohyun Kang, Dream of Broccoli I (2015), ink on paper, 20 x 16 inches

A fleeting, five-day exhibition at Gallery d'Arte, curated by the gallery's Director Suechung Koh, presents the artist Joohyun Kang's ability to modify and redirect her life and attitude by 'grafting' different but compatible elements.


Joohyun Kang, Arise and Shine (2015), ink on paper, 20 x 16 inches

By utilizing her knowledge and understanding of science and mythology, Kang combines her experiences and observations in a variety of ways to express her journey as a seer and thinker. She records her dreams, her challenges and her theories with ink on paper or mixed media on canvas with such great fineness and intensity that we must stand up and take notice. I find the delicacy of the application of ink, and the variations in dark and light she garners in Arise and Shine (2015), and Dream of Broccoli I (2015) and II (2015) to be some of the most graceful and alluring drawings I have seen in a very long time. Despite their smallish size (20 x 16 inches) they draw me right in from across the gallery floor like a moth to light. Once in at close range, I am reminded of the curious tales or Dr. Seuss who illustrated with great flair for fantasy, life in the microscopic town of Whoville. Both Kang and Seuss are working in the realm of Surrealism; however, Kang is more of a romantic, more mysterious with her intentions, which are highly personal and intensely symbolic.


Joohyun Kang, Victory (2007), beads, sequins and mixed media on canvas, 48 x 36 1/2 inches

Within this most elegant and beautiful exhibition, curator Koh includes some of Kang's earlier works for those unfamiliar with the artist's methodology. Victory (2007) is a grand object comprised of carefully attached beads, sequins and other materials on a monochromatically painted chromium oxide green canvas. Even before I saw the title I read the iconography as 'victory' - a wonderful example of the power of visual communication. Dragons-Power Game I (2013), a similarly comprised work of beads, sequins and mixed media on canvas; and Dragons-Power Game II (2013), which is a wonderfully executed watercolor on paper declare the same endless tale where two bitter rivals endlessly battle each other with no apparent gain but to say they never gave in, even in death.


Joohyun Kang, Birth of Culture (2014), beads, sequins and mixed media on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Birth of Culture (2014) is another symbolic work that correlates directly, the emergence of aesthetics with nature. For the most part in the U.S., we tend to flatten the land before we build. We erect buildings that have straight lines and right angles. Simply put, we want our building to stand out. In seeing Kang's Birth of Culture I am reminded, when for the first time while visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea, I understood that scale, line, form and color in ancient Korean architecture was directly related to the natural environment.


Joohyun Kang, Path I (2015-6), glass, beads and mixed media on canvas, 64 x 96 inches

Path I (2015-16) and Path II (2016) are the most directly related to the artist's personal journey as they symbolize a multitude of paths one's life could take. And it is in these works that we see that Kang is becoming more focused, and even more mysterious with her Iconography as she attempts to hone in on a more metaphysical approach to addressing 'the nature of being'.