'Joyous Sense of Freedom'
Painter Kim Myung-sik exudes abstract design and bold colors in his artwork

Powerful strokes of colors, whimsical lines and dynamism strike at the viewers attending exhibitions of Kim Myung-sik's artwork. His acrylic paintings on Oriental paper have a joyous sense of freedom that is almost child-like, yet they are informed by a sophisticated and mature sensibility in subjects ranging from Central Park in New York with tall buildings rising above brilliant multicolored trees to the landscape and small dwellings of Kodegi, comments an art critic Marie R. Pagano.
In his memory-paintings of Kodegi, Kim combines cultural nostalgia and deeply felt sense of place with a strong sense of abstract design and a bold hue of color.
In one painting in the series of a pagoda-like house appears in swift red outline in a large, rectangular area of brilliant yellow brushed onto the paper in broad strokes. It is juxtaposed with a bright explosion of floral shapes in red, green and yellow hues that suggest a bouquet.The mood evoked is at once gray and funeral, the art critic said. The flowers, after all, are simply flowers, and unaware that they are participating in an elegy. So the overall feeling of the compositional is finally more celebratory than elegiac, Pagano notes.
There is the sense of a cherished childhood memory, an effect enhanced by Kim's fresh approach too and from color. In this regard, Kim can be compared to such contemporary American expressionist as George McNeil and Jay Milder, who adopt the directness of children's paintings to invest their pictures with an adult depth of feelings. In another paintings in the series simply entitled, "Hometown, Kodegi Hill,"in contrast to the sunnier hews in the previous composition, Kim employs a somewhat more somber palette. Vigorously bushed strokes of gray, blue, and back are massed at the center of the composition to convey the sense of a landscape viewed through darker mists of memory, with the surrounding areas of the white paper left bare.
Ohm Young-suk, president of Dong-A University, commented that through the elegant but simplified harmony of colors in these artworks, we feel the sweet sympathy of neighbors and the nostalgia toward the old hometown that had disappeared a long time ago. The world where we can live without deceit, the world with full of freedom, the world in which we can trust each other, and the world with no rigid formality; Would not we always dream and pursue this kind of world? Looking at professor Kim's art pieces, I was reflecting on these kinds of thoughts.
In his Kodegi series of artwork, many people were fascinated. The town named Kodegi, where he grew up, and which disappeared in the process of modernization, could be the hometown for many people, who were kept in the busy life in the midst of big cities. Nostalgia toward hometown, sentiment to go back to the original identity, efforts to find truth, human nature craving for love are successfully captured in his artworks. Therefore his art is mostly related to the natural subjects and freely flowing lines and sentimental atmosphere fill his canvases.

An art critic Park Jung-hun of Hyundai Art Gallery, noted that Kim's work usually make viewers raise their emotional inspiration. Through inanimate objects and trees and the shape of a lonely bird revealed in scenery of a high mountain as a quite mood we can feel the painter's inner side.
However, the painter does not stay there. He rather presents us a dynamic wave by expression of his quick lines. It takes a key role of catalyst, which leads consensus with viewers, and it creates an irresponsible inhalation power of his works.
Kim Chang-sil, President of Sun Gallery in Seoul, said she was extremely glad to hold a solo exhibition of Professor Kim Myung-sik at her gallery May 12-28. His paintings have always dealt with nature as their motives, when it is surrounded with greenery of mid-spring and it was appropriate to hold his solo event in late May. Viewers would be able to find purity and hometowns of their minds from Kim's work under the themes of "Kodegi"and "East Side Story"as they are full of the painter's longing for small houses in Kodegi and New York's East Side.
Painter Kim held 42 solo and over 500 group exhibitions during his 20 year career as an artist, which showed his diligence and enthusiasm toward art. He was born in Seoul in 1950. From a young age, he showed a talent in art and dreamed of becoming a prominent artist.
Kim, who is an art professor at Dong-A University in Busan, held solo exhibitions in Madrid, Sydney, Vancouver, Tokyo, New York, Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Ulsan, and Masan. nw 

Kodegi and East Side Stories
by Kim, Myung-Sik June 2005

Nature has been a main subject and a foundation of my works from early years in my painting career, for it is where we are from, originally and where we will go, eventually. Denial of urbanized civilization is the primary reason for using nature as a main subject. Urban development /expansion is a double-edged blade, which makes our lives convenient but gradually hurts our human purity, as well.
When I was young, there were rice pads and grain fields in front of my village surrounded by low mountains, called "Kodegi" On the way home after school, I used to catch grass hopers and dragonflies with my friends. That was how we cherished our young dreams, then.
All of sudden, Kodegi disappeared. Close neighbors and friends were gone in every direction along with it. Kodegi is gone forever from my heart, as she became urbanized with the expansion of a metropolitan.
Unlike others, I can't go to my home "Kodegi" even when I really miss it. My work "Kodegi" is a reflection of the scenery, joy, and sorrow attached to my home. It is a reflection of myself when I was young. In the work, use of divided space represents what the entire village used to look like with mountains, fields, and anonymous wild flowers depicted.
On the other hand, East Side Story is a description of my adult life (i.e., myself and my surroundings, now). East where the sun rises has been the beginning of the day and a symbol of purity in my mind. Kodegi is in east of the metropolitan. In other words, East Side Story is about Kodegi, now, while my work called Kodegi is about Kodegi in the past.nw


East Side Story | 2004 | Oil on Canvas | 46 x 36 in.

East Side Story | 2004 | Oil on Canvas | 46 x 36 in.



Painter Kim Myung-sik

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