작성일 : 12-07-04 18:08
Susi Colin's Review, Ph. D. in Art History, Professor at Montclair State University
Kim Man Hee
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Kim Man Hee
Kim Man Hee’s abstract paintings are best described with the musical term ‘fusion’, the blending of different styles to create a distinctly new style. The artist, however, does
not blend two different artistic traditions, he bonds them expanding abstract art and infusing it with a deeper understanding of the visual __EXPRESSION__ of feeling.
As a Korean Kim Man Hee naturally takes point of departure from the very elements of Eastern Asian art that has fascinated western artist from the late 19th century on:
Asymmetric composition for example, which produces and yet balances tension and which James McNeil Whistler employed in his ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black’ of 1871;
and the brushstroke as a means of __EXPRESSION__ in its own right which Western artist began to explore from the turn from the 19th to the 20th century on.
Vincent van Gogh who intensively studied Asian brushwork, called them his “energy lines”.
The jagged and dynamic brushwork is the very essence of East Asian painting and is the second highest criterion, the ‘bond method’ in Xie He’s Six principles of Chinese
Painting, which was written in the sixth century A.D.
According to Xie He, the proper application of the brush leads to ‘spirit resonance’, the highest goal a painter wants to achieve: the seemingly effortless energy and vitality that vibrates within nature, quivers within the artist himself, and flows through him into his work. These principles govern not only painting but also calligraphy which, in East Asia,
in regarded as an art form that is equal to that of painting.
It is not surprising that Kim Man Hee found a natural affinity to Abstract __EXPRESSION__ism which pursued a similar goal. He was attracted particularly to the works of
painters like Willem de Kooning which retained the figure, or Franz Kline whose expressive brush work is reminiscent of Asian calligraphy. However, fully abstract works which are neither rooted in nature nor calligraphy, such as the paintings of Clyfford Still, seem to have opened a new path for Kim Man Hee to investigate his own artistic tradition
and to encourage him to put aside Xie He’s third standard principle, ‘correspondence to the object’, to produce a recognizable image of natural forms, such as a portrait,
a landscape, a scene, or still life.
In his paintings, Kim Man Hee uses brush strokes in the traditional Asian way, as a means to infuse his paintings with energy and vitality and also to incorporate a kind of three dimensional space – absent in traditional Asian painting. He does this in a way that has been employed by many modern Western painters who layered individually discernible brush strokes of thick creamy oil or acrylic paint atop one another. But in accordance with the Asian tradition, he applies varying degrees of pressure generating lines that
seem to emerge and recede from the canvas.
In this way he creates a perception of depth space that is entirely detached from the creation of spatial illusion that permeated Western painting from Renaissance to the end
of the 19th century. Apart from the generation of purely pictorial space, these techniques allow the viewer to follow the movement of his brush and also to see which brush
strokes he painted first and which ones came next. In this way he also incorporates something that is new Western art, but has a long tradition in Asian painting – the element of time.
The insertion of time in pictorial art has a long tradition in Asian art, particularly in the long strips of Asian scroll painting which cannot be viewed as a whole. Instead, the
viewer absorbs a continuously flowing sequence of scenes gradually. He unrolls a part of the strip and then progresses slowly through the painting from scene to scene by
scrolling and rerolling the strip. When experienced in this fashion, the viewer takes a kind of walk through the painting: he observes one section and then moves on as if he
were traveling through the countryside or a garden. All the while he is enjoying a sequence of views unfolding in front of his eyes.
The same is true of Chinese landscape paintings where the viewer cannot take in the entire painting at once because of their multi-perspective nature. Here, the viewer must
travel from vista to vista along a number of possible paths laid out by the artist. In many of Kim Man Hee’s paintings the viewer may do the same. But he may also view the
painting in customary Western way – as a single compositional entity. This is his choice as the artist permits him to do either or both.
Although entirely abstract, some of Kim Man Hee’s paintings permit the viewer to associate with natural forms, scenes, and landscapes. His choice of color, strokes and flicks
of the brush may evoke a misty winter landscape of hills and lakes, barren trees, people in a boat… mountains. But regardless whether or not the viewer makes a connection
to the tangible world, he experiences the mood that is conveyed in traditional figurative painting.
Somehow, Kim Man Hee extracts the essence of moods and feelings and put them on his canvases plain and pure.
In this respect, Kim Man Hee is a master. His paintings invoke an astoundingly broad emotional spectrum that range from energy filled vibrancy, violence, and danger, to calm
introspective and meditative moods. His paintings resonate and speak to the viewer with a voice as is as abstract as it is naturally accessible and intense in totally different
form of art - music.
Ph. D. in Art History, Professor at Montclair State University