Saturday, February 7, 2009


Loop Gallery
Sung Ja Kim - Wilderness

This exquisite show of painted constructions was on exhibit at the Loop Gallery from January 10th until February 1st. I have had the opportunity to see an exhibit by Sung once before at The Loop gallery and I was as taken with that body of work as I am with this one.
Her use of natural and recycled materials evoke an almost meditative experience in viewing them. More often than not I find the danger of stepping out of the use of traditional materials is that the composition becomes "about" the material, and the viewer loses touch with the objective. Not so here, the finely tuned concert of raw materials mounted on or behind canvas compliment the overriding theme of spiritual growth through self exploration. Each piece in the show seems an open, almost surgical examination of the spiritual self(lessness) in the human psyche. One piece in particular stands out as exemplary to the rest of the exhibit. Alienation & Redemption is a large scale piece constructed of raw plywood as if torn from the junk of a construction site mounted behind again a very course canvas. Are we not all constructed in this rough form? It is through life's hills and valleys that we can get down to the work of alienating ourselves from that which truly obstructs our path to redemption. Ms. Kim gets to this message by opening herself up for us all to see.
The entire palette of this material is muted grey, white and earthen tones that keep the viewer grounded so as not to wander from the sudden, (satori), reality of our own redemption. It is hard to avoid that subtle sense of loss in this body of work. Whether it be through fading memory or that gut wrenching loss of our own selves in the mess of life she bares it all.
It is late January and winter is in the depths of its hold on us thus causing many of us to seek warmth and a shelter from it. I only hope that doesn't mean that too few came out to witness this exhibit and come to terms with their own redemption. This is indeed a show that merits maximum visibility. Kudos to Ms. Kim and Loop for offering us the chance to get out in the cold and bare witness to certainly what I think is going to be an exhibit to set the example for the year of the bull.

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