Hionas Gallery is pleased to announce its fall 2011 lineup of monthly solo exhibitions, beginning with Plastics, a show of new acrylic & oil paintings from Korean-born, Brooklyn-based artist Kiseok Kim. This will mark Kim’s third solo gallery exhibition since moving to New York City in 2006, and his first with Hionas Gallery. An up-close-and-personal boldness characterizes each of Kim’s large-scale portraits, which depict blush, fresh faces that come only from the artist’s imagination. The gallery will be holding a public opening reception on Thursday, September 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
Each of Kim’s paintings is an untitled work, further contributing to the anonymity of his fictional female subjects, whose restrained glances evoke a sense of quiet despair, even empathy. Visual elements of anime, surrealism and color-field painting all leave their mark in Kim’s work, yet can sometimes be overpowered by the hyper-real detailing of pouting lips, the skin’s natural glow, and other facial markers that make these portraits both implausible and relatable. Accentuating the pristine beauty of each of his subjects is a juxtaposed backdrop of plucked flowers in bloom, Noland-esque targets, and other decorative visuals that recall apparel design patterns.
For Untitled (2010), seen above, Kim’s subject is defined by her eyes, passive and floating, almost avian in their placement. Her head superimposed more so than in Kim’s other portraits, and placed against a patterned backdrop of softly-rendered concentric hearts, the painting presents a fascinating convergence of fine detailing and the sense that this is a blank facial template on which to impose one’s own narrative. According to the artist, “[Each] portrait does not render a specific person; the person in my work is an idealized being. I try to get rid of expression on the face so it looks almost frozen or static. In addition, its background is simple and no spatiality is suggested.”