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Landscape of Meetiong and Parting 

KIM Bo Hie 

 

Landscape of Meditation – Exhibition of Kim Bo-hie's Lastest Works Kim Bo-hie is having a solo exhibition. This is her third exhibition following her 1995 exhibition to celebrate her winning the Second Woljeon Art Prize. This exhibition is expected to provide a window on the latest development in the artist's painting style and passion. As recently as 1980s, Kim experimented with various genres including figures, still-lifes, and landscapes on her canvases. In the 1990s, however, she has begun to take up nature as her favorite subject matter, giving it added depth and meaning with her composition and style. Nature has long been deemed as the supreme subject of traditional oriental painting. Naturally, the nature depicted in Kim Bo-hie's works are deeply rooted in the oriental view of nature. In some sense, the artist's nature-oriental attitude seems to reflect her gradual spiritual journey from depiction of the mundane world of her surroundings to return to nature. Conversely, her world of perception expands from her immediate surroundings to the big world with herattaining maturity, similar to Asian tradition of returning to nature with age. Though everyday life and mundane world may be viewed as part of nature, nature, in its purest sense, should be cleared of artificiality as completely as possible. Return to nature, in this context, can be translated in the oriental way thinking as becoming one with nature, in contrast to the western way of looking at nature as an object in terms of man's relation to it. In a steady evolution in the artist's approach to nature, Kim has consistently experimented with grasping nature as a whole or capturing nature in a defining stroke throughout 1990s and beyond. Her restrained use of explanation and her way of projecting tranquil image of nature reflect the depth of her artistic prowess born of her long aesthetic pursuit in her own way. The artist does not depict some exceptional sceneries. Rather, she creates a canvasful of open field covered with anonymous wild flowers or placid sea surrounding islands which appear only as distant dots—sceneries so ordinary that most people pass by without even noticing. We see no eye-catching visual tension created, just more sense of comfort and tranquility with each viewing. There probably lies the beauty of her painting –the thought- provoking sceneries in her paintings lead us to meditate rather than just being attractive objects. Looking at her recent works, the viewers find themselves drawn to the other world beyond daily human perception before they know it, intend by the endless serenity that surround them. Unlike the sound grandeur of the tree-toppling winds and rock-crashing waves, the droning of tiny insects, the sound of grass-growing and seed-sprouting, and all the other soothing but persistent pulse of life emanating from the underground are everywhere on her paintings. The characteristic feature of Kim Bo-hie's latest landscapes is gradual change into a near pure ink painting in her expressive style based on her consistent attitude towards nature in terms of subject. The most strikingis the artist's transition from a profusion of vibrant colors in the 1980s through increasingly fuzzy sense of colors to an extremely ascetic use of color in favor of different tones of Indian ink. While colorful landscapes evoke vivid sense of reality, ink-based landscapes are characterized by other-worldly impression though they portray the actual sceneries. In this regard, the transformation in her style epitomizes her rise above the world affairs, revealing that her attention which used be directed to the outside world is now turning inward, looking deep inside from the outside world. This shift in her perspective is believed to mirror her attained maturity through using nature to cultivate her mental landscape. It is a really stunning change that the artist, who started out as a master of colors, launched new experiment into ink-based painting. For all the difference on the surface, her experiment is interpreted not as a change for change's sake but her ceaseless exploration for her artistic world, this exhibition of her meditative landscapes being yet another brilliant example of her more mature artistic effort.