Unix Gallery is currently hosting a solo exhibition by Korean artist KwangHo Shin –“제목이 없는 존재” — which literally translates to “There is no Title.” Shin’s latest series of work features new oil paintings that challenge the notion of identity and interactivity between people. Painting in the new environment of New York City, Shin features new tones and color combinations that directly reflect the artist’s experience with his new surroundings. The result of this is a seductive enigma, an amalgamation of specificity and obscurity, anxiety and humor; all with Shin’s expressive strokes that articulate the eponymous notion of “제목이 없는 존재,” the devoid identity, the ‘untitled being.’
Evoking themes of Abstract Expressionism, Shin employs intense and vibrant colors to depict the individualistic expression of emotion and a sense of self. He applies charcoal and oils in thick brushstrokes to distort and exaggerate the subject’s facial features. His technique confronts the viewer with an emotional impact, effecting our understanding of the human form. Channeling a more figurative mode with Untitled 16NY09, the artist melds layers of pinks and purples with white to create an explosion of ephemeral flesh. The use of softer pastels leaves a more gentle effect offset by rich siennas and flesh tones.
Colorful and faceless paintings brilliantly capture the complexity of human emotions. The subjects range from individual models, noted international celebrities, and self-portraits. Untitled 16NY16 expresses Shin’s natural inclination to represent his subjects’ personalities and innate nature; even his own. “I don’t see anything,” the artist ruminates on his source material, “but it is also a self-portrait. When I am painting I don’t exactly plan what colors I will use to paint.” Here, Shin is able to clear his mind and evoke his full creative psyche.
“During the painting process I change my ideas and feelings many times. I just focus on that feeling; that moment…I put the totality of my energy into that feeling so that when a work is complete I feel peaceful.” Whether it is the external pose of the subject or the unique color combinations, abstraction or layered texture, the portraiture of KwangHo Shin is able to document the psychological changes and clashes that arise in us all.
KwangHo Shin’s There is No Title will be on Exhibit Through July 30th, 2016 at Unix Gallery, Located at 532 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.