Appearing at first glance to be painted monochromes, the works of Minjung Kim (b. 1962, in Gwangju, Republic of Korea) gradually reveal themselves as intricately accrued surfaces. Early, intensive study of East Asian calligraphy endowed Minjung with a vision of our world as not merely a collection of physical objects, but as an infinite universe of processes.
Her training also taught Minjung to communicate through an extremely controlled deployment of her brush, which “channels” energy and directs it onto paper. The artist painstakingly mounts up the rice paper support of her paintings, either by overlaying burnt-edged sheets or by laying down a range of brushstrokes to achieve an overall gradation of sumi ink. The result is far removed from the legible signs of calligraphy or the customary figuration of traditional ink painting; instead, Minjung’s art revels in radical abstraction.
While she received formal training in the art of calligraphy and its principles of direct action and uninterrupted gesture, it was through Minjung’s studies at the Brera Academy in Milan that she became increasingly fascinated with the particular application of these techniques in the hands of such Western artists as Franz Kline and Paul Klee. This multi-faceted lens is fundamental to her practice and the various tensions it embodies.