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May 26 - 29, 2022
Hong Kong — Odds and Ends is pleased to present Korean-American artist Dami Kim at this year’s Art Central as part of its Duk Dak Solo Presentation. Presenting a solo booth of new works, Dami Kim’s practice is anchored in studies of human culture through art history, mythology and contemporary abstraction, which materialises in paintings that revive and transform archetypes from the unconscious of contemporary culture.
On view at Art Central will be new works from Kim’s Old Masters series, her fascination with Old Masters and fête galante paintings is rooted in their highly symbolic and morally illustrative nature, which are often visualised in dramatised historical or allegorical scenes. In this series, Kim brings forth a renewed relevance of social commentary surrounding contemporary culture of affluence and excessive indulgence through painting, the intention of which is akin to referenced artists’ such as Francisco Goya and Peter Paul Rubens. Believing that history of art parallels social and moral history of a culture, Kim appropriates Old Masters painting to revive artistic manners of social criticism.
One of such works is Love vs Duty, 2021 which borrows the visual language of Baroque, oozing with sensuous richness, dramatic movements and emotional exuberance. Maximising spatial possibilities with abstracted clusters of form, its rhythmic composition and expressive play of light recalls formal considerations favoured by Old Masters painters. Hints of allegorical figures peek through an otherwise abstract assemblage of gestural brushstrokes, creating a treasure map of ontological revelation. This series reimagines the dynamism of historical works through contemporary abstraction, providing viewers with just enough visual familiarity to navigate its fluctuating state between abstraction and figuration.
Dami Kim, Sea Women, 2021, Oil on canvas, 200 x 160 cm
As a continuation of her Old Masters’ series, Kim's most recent work utilises art historical research to dissect the relationship between cultural identity and art historical representation. Inspired by her cultural upbringing, Sea Women, 2021 creates a dialogue with the art historical canon by challenging ways Asians and our culture have historically been represented in art. Depicted in the painting are “Haenyeo”, women divers of Korea’s Jeju Island whose livelihood consists of harvesting sea life from the ocean. By styling working class Asian women as muses, Kim celebrates notions of womanhood and labour in both art historical and cultural narratives. Sea Women, 2021 memorialises the semi-matriarchal society of Jeju in an Arcadia-like painting, depicted on an oversized canvas that is reminiscent of an altarpiece, inviting viewers’ admiration and worship.
Dami Kim, Triumph of Cleopatra (William Etty Study), 2021, Watercolour on Yupo paper, 22x30 cm
Dami Kim, Dark Abundance, 2020, 35x28 cm
On view at Art Central will also be a series of smaller studies by Kim, many of which inform her technical progression as a contemporary abstract painter. Works such as Triumph of Cleopatra (William Etty Study), 2020, and Dark Abundance, 2020 exemplify Kim’s commitment in advancing and diversifying her formal approach to abstract painting. Studying works by artists such as William Etty and Rembrandt, Kim contemplates the expansive ways paint can be applied to develop beguiling compositions, begging questions about how we read a painting when it is stripped down to a myriad of symbols and hues.
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