Hakgojae Gallery attracts attention with young artists' paintings

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Hakgojae Gallery attracts attention with young artists' paintings

″Lesson on Plants″(2021) by artist Kim Eun-jeong [HAKGOJAE GALLERY]

″Lesson on Plants″(2021) by artist Kim Eun-jeong [HAKGOJAE GALLERY]

 
Painting, which had been the most important medium of visual art for a long time, was considered by a lot of art insiders as old or even obsolete medium in recent decades amid a flood of installation and new media art.  
 
However, in the Korean art world in the recent years, many young emerging artists are attracting attention with paint. Reflecting the trend, Hakgojae Gallery, one of the nation’s major commercial galleries, is holding a group exhibition titled “Icon” that features paintings by six artists in their 30s.  
 
Among the artists, Kim Eun-jeong, 35, is presenting paintings in bold colors, which at a glimpse seem to describe scenes from everyday life but at the same time have a somewhat enigmatic ambience. “She amalgamates her own emotional experiences from relationships with others and the scenes she has witnessed with stories she found in books, so as to construct a new narrative [for paintings],” explained Park Miran, exhibition director of the gallery, who curated the show.  
 
Large-size black-and-white paintings titled “The Mountain Drops Boulders to Collapse” by Im Sun-goo, 31, are more enigmatic and even mystical. The three graphite-on-paper paintings that make a kind of triptych depict a mythological mountain which is crowded by diverse animals and plants and apparently gives off its spirit in the form of flames. Her paintings are like “a poem that tells the mythology created by herself and her emotions about it,” Park said.  
 
“The Mountain Drops Boulders to Collapse”(2021) by artist Im Sun-goo.  [HAKGOJAE GALLERY]

“The Mountain Drops Boulders to Collapse”(2021) by artist Im Sun-goo. [HAKGOJAE GALLERY]

 
Whereas Im’s paintings depict the artist’s own mythology based on various primitive and folk religions, dark paintings by Lee Dong-hyuk, 36, deal with questions about religion, which the artist born into a strict Christian family came to have after his beliefs clashed with reality. The paintings include “Pungent Chirping 5,” a painting of blue tones which depicts headless church choir members singing in the dark surrounded by benches.  
 
While works by the aforementioned three artists are figurative paintings, the other three artists present abstract paintings. But, in fact, they are not entirely abstract, either.  
 
Paintings by Lee Jung-ho, 37, look like Abstract Expressionist paintings but actually represent various stains in cityscapes including water marks on windows and the remains of a torn poster. Geometric abstraction paintings by Park Hyun-jung, 35, are made by drawing the minimal particles of organisms visible to the naked eye such as mold and volcanic ash and then transforming the images with digital tools and hand-painting the transformed images. There are also abstract paintings by Ji Keun-wook, 36, whose numerous colorful lines make optical illusions.  
 
The exhibition runs through Sunday. For details, visit www.hakgojae.com.
 

BY MOON SO-YOUNG [moon.soyoung@joongang.co.kr]
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