Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to present Eemyun Kang: Dozing River. For her first solo exhibition in New York, Kang has created an ambitious cycle of large-scale abstract paintings that contend with notions of stasis and change.
In Kang’s paintings, the inherent instability of the subject is a constant concern. Central to her work is the Deleuzian question of ‘becoming’ – the point at which an idea, creative process or painting crystallizes and takes on a new form. This state of perpetual evolution – or metamorphosis – is a second vital focus in Kang’s work. Her paintings capture this dynamic process using subjects such as eating, sleeping, splitting and doubling and most of the artist’s themes center on these everyday organic processes. Shifting between abstract and figurative registers, the artist’s vocabulary includes a dizzying range of biomorphic forms including mushrooms and plants as well as animals. These denizens of the forest are never quite what they seem however, with fungi blown up to the size of poisonous clouds, and piles of skulls resembling extravagant bouquets of dead flowers.
Kang uses her paintings to link two separate activities through a shared event. The artist’s fascination with hybridity stems, in part, from her own dislocation. Born and raised in Korea, she has made her home in the vastly different cultural milieu of London for the better part of the last decade. Adjustment has become a cornerstone of her reality, a state of mind that has led to her rejection of the Aristotelian concept that change is illusory. Instead, the artist has adopted a more radical process-based philosophy in her work. Kang’s paintings push beyond geographical boundaries and contend with more global notions of dual-process – for example, eating as a means of swallowing as well as digestion.
This interest in how materials are converted from one thing to another plays a central role in her work. Dual-process actions that occur when the body experiences a shift in energies, such as sleeping or eating, offer the artist an opportunity to resolve questions of metamorphosis and dualism. Similarly, in Kang’s practice, the paint itself constitutes a transformative element that mediates between subject and object, figuration and abstraction, conscious and unconscious, and between form and color. Her skillful treatment of color, texture and composition effortlessly give way to ontological inquiry.
Born in 1981 in Busan, South Korea, Kang received a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art from the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2009. She was awarded the school’s prestigious Gold Medal upon graduation. Kang’s work has been exhibited widely around the UK as well as internationally. In 2009, she was included in a group exhibition of emerging Korean artists working outside of the country at the Hangaram Museum of Art in Seoul as well as in Traveling Light, a collateral exhibition of the 2009 Venice Biennale.