Artist’s avatar approaches anxieties

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Artist’s avatar approaches anxieties


“Gate Keeper” by Taeye Kim. Provided by Gallery Hyundai

Colorful, decorative flower patterns rarely conjure up the feeling of a tranquil state of mind.
Yet this is exactly the feeling that Korean painter Taeye Kim’s abstract pieces inspire.
Currently two of the artist’s paintings are on display at Gallery Hyundai in Jongno, central Seoul, through March 3.
“Crustacean Keeper 1” features the face of an adorable child with wide, inquisitive eyes. But far from a typical portrait, this child is surrounded by what appears to be sunflowers with crab arms sticking out.
“Gate Keeper” contains the same baby face, only this time it’s attached to a body reminiscent of ginseng root.
The child is a depiction of the artist, according to Park Young-tae, an art critic and professor at Kyonggi University.
In Kim’s paintings, Park writes in an essay, she tries to portray a personal mythology through a kind of children’s fairy tale. The myth is based on the artist’s memories about her personal relationships and background.
Park said that the artist has created a character that she has titled “Keeper,” who personifies flowers and insects. The child is a kind of avatar for the artist.
In the paintings, the Keeper characters have tentacles, which spread out toward the world. These serpentine arms distance the Keeper from fears and anxieties.
The colors and the patterns Kim has adopted in her painting, Park writes, camouflage her frail emotions and phobias about the world.
The continuous patterns of the paintings additionally represent the life cycle of growth and decay.
Kim graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She is currently a resident of Seoul, where she continues her work.

Gallery Hyundai is open every day from 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. including on weekends and holidays. Admission is free. For more, information, visit

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter []
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