Kim Wonsook: Shadow Drawings

2 Jul

Kim Wonsook “Hope of a Tree Branch”

The rain poured as I walked to Gallery Hyundai on a Saturday morning. Soaked and carrying a dripping umbrella sheathed in a plastic bag, I gladly entered the safety of the gallery not knowing what to expect. What I found were simple yet profound visual narratives articulated through a peculiar use of traditional media.

Kim Wonsook’s collection of “Shadow Drawings” transcends the traditional use of casted bronze. Kim treats a medium utilized mainly in the fabrication of large, three dimensional sculptures as a two dimensional drawing material which, when observing the shadows casted by the sculpture and even the treatment of the bronze itself, mimics the nature of rough ink brushstrokes. But the true art, in my opinion, lies in the narratives of Kim’s works which kept me engaged. Kim’s sculptures and paintings all have a very simple, storybook-like approach to narration to create calm, dream-like, and reflective atmospheres. Not knowing any background information to Kim’s work I wondered is the artist referencing her own specific stories and experiences or is she creating a universal story which allows the audience to view them as they relate to himself or herself? Or perhaps is it a mixture of both? Both a sense of mystery and familiarity lingered as I viewed the work.

Another aspect that I found quite interesting was the fact that the tight gallery setting reinforced the notion of the artwork as being high Art. They would not allow me to take photographs (although I managed to get a few before they told me off) and I could feel their eyes watching me from their desk and cameras as I went around the gallery. The setting that Gallery Hyundai creates is one similar to that which houses priceless works of art, and therefore, it increase the value and significance of the artwork in the mind of the audience. Even though the work was displayed in a cold, stark setting, there was a sense of warmth in Kim’s heartfelt subjects and stories.

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