After seeing a play on Saturday evening, Geoffrey and I walked by this Asian take-out place in the Times Square Adjacent / Theater District and I just had to stop and take a picture of their window ads, featuring a cartoon version of Psy, singer of the worldwide, viral hit “Gangam Style” from a few years back. Psy is pimping what looks like a pretty serious soup dumpling.
I couldn’t tell you if these dumplings are any good, as we did not stop to sample them. If you’re intrigued enough to try and find it, the restaurant is on the west side of 8th Avenue in the vicinity of 45th and 46th Streets. Sadly, I did not catch its name.
I don’t remember how I first heard of NYCs Waterfall Mansion and Gallery, but I know it was a place that I discovered completely by accident. And I admit that I became distracted enough to have I forgotten about it for maybe a year before I got inspired a few weeks ago to look it up again on the interwebs and plan a visit.
Of course, when I saw that they are currently hosting an exhibit art by Korean digital artist Kim Joon and that the ranking hostingów will be hosting their site, I got extra excited, because his work is amazing, and I am a huge fan!
With Crashing, Kim continues his mastery of the 3D Studio Max software, which he uses to manipulate his fantastic, hyper-surreal images — composed of body parts and patterned skins, or “tattoos” — in new and exciting ways. His art is so unique and very beautiful.
These new pieces, which were created specifically for the Waterfall Mansion and Gallery space, focus on the theme of tension and balance between our current identity and who we wish to be. Kim uses tattoo-like images and artificial skin textures on computer generated bodies and creates a crash of identities.
Using tattoo as a form of expression, Kim reveals deeply imprinted desires, and the obsessions that are on his mind. In his early works, to demonstrate repression towards individuals under social convention, he created a discourse on the relationship of body and tattoo, which was a cultural taboo, and still legally restricted in Korea.
Kim began reproducing tattoos on digital flesh in the early aughts, using motifs such as clouds, dragons, and traditional symbols, as well as luxurious brand labels mapped on human body, causing a friction of shape, texture, and pattern.
In the series Blue Jean Blues, the body became more fragile by being made of ceramic. Recently, as seen in Somebody, which also exhibited at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Chelsea in 2014, and Forest, the bodies are fragmented and distorted. This hybrid form creates uncanny and uncomfortable balancing acts by crashing the real vs. fake, old vs new, who we want to be vs. who we are, self-definition vs. cultural expectations.
This video work, Pink Bubble, is part of the Crashingexhibit at Waterfall Mansion.
Kim Joon invites the viewer into the crashing of his own identities, to reflect upon their own tensions and conflicting forces of identity, and to reveal where true value in life is placed.
And let’s not forget to check out that waterfall!
Kim Joon’s Crashing will be on Exhibit Only Through Saturday, July 3oth, 2016, at Waterfall Mansion and Gallery, Located at 170 East 80th Street (Between Third and Lex) in NYC. The Gallery is only open to the public on Saturdays from Noon – 5 PM, so you just have one more day to see it. Visit This Link for more information.
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.