MARKS OF THE DISPLACED
Written By Christina Beecher
Featured image: Soyoung L. Kim, Galatea Fine Arts opening, Feb. 4, 2019. Photo: George Shaw
Boston, MA. Soyoung L. Kim’s first solo show at Galatea Fine Art in Boston’s SoWa district is an explosive force of lines, colors and movement. Her work is bold, organic, and veritably dripping with hope. Though abstract on many levels, there is a hint of the representational in her titles; pondering them allows you to see the work differently, rooted in the representational and of the natural world. The show itself, MARKS OF THE DISPLACED, is an obvious thread in all of her work, operating on many levels.
As she explains in her statement, Soyoung exemplifies the essence of “marks” in this show. She explores the many concepts of “marks” through a diverse but cohesive grouping of two-dimensional works and in smaller wood panels with sculptures that literally seem to grow out of their support. Her idea of the DISPLACED, references the many places she has lived, often alongside hardship. Soyoung explores the canvas (or whatever surface she chooses) to work through the concepts of MARK and DISPLACE, and she does it with a quiet gentleness and amazing strength.
Patience, Waiting for the Rain, acrylic on canvas, 56 x 46 in., Photo: Will Howcroft
One definition of a mark is “not planned”, or “by accident”, but it is clear her work is anything but accidental. In her large canvas, Patience, Waiting for the Rain (56 x 46 in.), Soyoung uses large swaths of colors that blend together, subtly mixing warm hues of salmons and peaches. On top of these crisp colors, she layers distinct organic lines that beckon to the sky in warm inky browns. These root-like marks are anchored towards the bottom of the canvas and held tightly in place by drippy blue lines that slide off the lower right-hand side of the canvas. With these wiry and organic lines, the artist roots herself into her work, as she leaves her “mark”. As Soyoung reveals in her artist’s statement: “I hope to not only remember all the places I have lived in so that I have a sense of home in my own memory, but also to leave behind the marks for those places to remember me.” How lucky are we to bear witness to this concept!
Kim works with a variety of media (including acrylic, watercolor, and ink) on a variety of surfaces. She also explores the sculptural world with paper-mache on wood panels. This diversity is a testament not only to Kim’s range as an artist, but is a witness to the many diverse landscapes she has been exposed to.
Life Forms No. 2, mixed media, 8 x 8 in., Photo: Will Howcroft
Her sculptural works are smaller, only 8 x 8 in., but they boldly and quietly echo the images seen in Kim’s paintings. One such work, Life Forms No. 2 is created with paper-mache that is secured onto a painted surface. The natural forms that she twists and creates from paper are reminiscent of the lines and shapes in her two-dimensional works. Most intriguing, the paper material Kim uses comes primarily from the artist’s own recycled manuscripts. As another, subtler way to leave her “mark”, this seems particularly poignant.
Photo: George Shaw
Soyoung L. Kim’s work has a living breathing feel to it. Her colors are calming, her compositions strong, and the variety in her work expresses a confidence that is both beautiful and demanding. Her love of nature, and her response to it is evident in all of her work. She has made her mark throughout this exhibit and is anything but displaced.
Marks of the Displaced, January 30-February 24, 2019. Visit Galatea Fine Art at 460 Harrison Avenue B-6. Boston, MA 02118, 617-542-1500. Gallery Hours Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 and by appointment.