Los Angeles-born, Korean-American artist Dami Kim has called Hong Kong home since 2015. Inspired by the visual language of both Old Masters paintings and contemporary artists, Kim works in both oil and acrylic media on canvas, paper, and wood. Paintings by Kim are best described as an exploration of recalled memory through visual studies of art history. In her paintings, she often explores themes of memory and dream through abstract and expressive distortions. Her mesmerising contortion of colour and composition form a visual synergy that blends hallucination with illusion, creating an experience of jamais vu from supposedly familiar imagery of historical paintings.
Dami Kim, Boucher Study, 2020, Oil on canvas, 50x40 cm
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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. 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 her Old Masters 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.
Dami Kim, Arrival of Spring, 2021, Acrylic on card stock, 109x79 cm
Kim's most recent works dissect the relationship between cultural identity and art historical representation. Taking inspiration from her personal cultural upbringing, works such as In Full Bloom, 2021 and Sea Women, 2021 create a dialogue with the art historical canon by confronting concepts of womanhood and labour in Asian cultures. The result of such study creates an alternative narrative that critique the neutrality of abstract compositions, and challenge the ways Asians and our culture have historically been represented in art history.
Dami Kim, Consumed, 2021, Oil on canvas, 67 x 90 cm