Mountains and landscapes painted by Kang correspond to nature as it is of itself. When separated from nature, man “exists” outside it [ex-sist]. Existence of this sort is artificiality and culture. Western landscape paintings externalize objects and the artist is separated from the object. In contrast, Kang becomes one with the object of nature. His paintings are that of yijing which can be painted only after “having been in touch with and lived amidst nature.” The origin of yijing is a correct historical understanding and infinite love of his native soil. On the boundary where nature (space), history (time) and the self (subject) integrate, strokes and speed soar together with vectors and dynamically. To point out again, the artist deals with nature “not as a mere collection of objects, but as a subject that represents the emotional changes of another subject.”
Excerpt from “Discussion on the Origin of Humanity (原人) and Origin of the Way (原道): Inquiring about Humanness and the Right Way of Existence” | Jinmyung Lee (Art critic, Aesthetics & Oriental studies)
Kang’s color field painting represents the changes in cosmic energy flows with the transition of fields of color and different impressions of it to emphasize a sense of motion. It allows us to regard Kang’s practice not only as an outcome of Minjung Art’s lyrical sentiments or the local characteristics of Jeju regional art, which is the established view confining him, but also as another diachronic trend in contemporary art. His challenging practice in painting moves fluidly along the circuits of vortex thinking. The picture screen invalidates the genre distinction between Oriental and Western paintings and reveals that the act of “painting”—the most ancient and primal method of expression, is still valid in the era of the 2020s.
What will be caught “at first sight” and by an “innocent mind from the beginning”? I hear the sound of the wind.
Excerpt from “Observation of the Heavenly Mechanism and a Vortex of Thought” | Jeongbok Kim (Art historian)