Kim Hong Joo has been given a number of different titles as an artist ranging from flower painter to letter painting artist, thus illustrating the diversity of subjects he has dealt with throughout his career. As his early artistic activities in the 1970s were closely tied with the S.T Group, he has attempted and explored a variety of subjects. However, the exploration of different subject matter is a relatively insignificant element in his work. The depicted subjects are in fact, merely conventional images that do not signify specific images. In contrast, he suggests a re-examination of the depicted common subjects in their original form. Accordingly, his theme is always consistent. His works are based on the exploration of the method of drawing rather than the drawn subjects. Through his exploration on the fundamentals of ‘drawing’, his intent to portray reality in a new way is revealed.
This new way of portraying reality is based on adjusting and tweaking conventional methods of observing and perceiving objects. Kim Hong Joo does not observe his subjects - whether it is a scene or an individual - in an ordinary way. He attempts to avoid taking a conventional viewpoint in observing familiar objects by disseminating and reassembling them. For example, his subjects are depicted using a bird’s eye view rather than through a typical eye-level view and he actively exploits the void which is rarely used in Western painting. Physical actions are also brought into his work through the adoption of the hair-penciling method. Kim’s works that are based on this hair-penciling method are completed by countless, repetitive touches of the brush. This technique makes the process of drawing and the actions circumscribed to the canvas visible. The resulting artworks therefore do not aim to reveal a narrative based on the painted subjects but attempts to evoke sentiments of the painting itself.
This exhibition features 21 works including his most recent flower and landscape paintings, and letter paintings made in the 90s. This will be his third solo show at Kukje Gallery, following his previous solo shows in 1999 and 2002. Kim Hong Joo was born in Chungbuk in 1945. Kim obtained his BFA and MFA from Hongik University. His large-scale mid-career survey was held at the Rodin Gallery, Seoul in 2005. Kim’s works have been shown in numerous museums including Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, and Queens Museum of Art, NY. His works are part of many renowned public collections and art institutions such as Fukuoka Art Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, Total Museum, Seoul, and Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul. Kim is also currently a professor at Mokwon University, Daejeon, Korea.