Korean Cultural Center Presents Expanding Spacetime: Two Korean Contemporary Artists Explore Mind and Body Beyond Boundaries

By Editorial Team on July 30, 2018
Chae Eun Rhee, The Garden of Forking Paths, Oil on linen, 100x90cm, 2017. Courtesy of the Korean Cultural Center.
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Opening Reception: Friday, August 3 at 6pm
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The Korean Cultural Center Washington, DC proudly presents Expanding Spacetime, a new exhibition opening August 3 featuring contemporary artwork by Chae Eun Rhee and Sky Kim, whose vivid and evocative paintings ask viewers to imagine how the human mind and body transcend the constraints of time and space.

As female artist who have each lived in Korea and the United States, Rhee and Kim employ fundamentally different visual styles and subjects, but both aspire to integrate a sense of spirituality into their work by crossing traditional boundaries between imagination and reality. By examining what makes us who we are, from the cellular to the unconscious, both ask viewers to visualize their own inner worlds that are deeply personal, rarely seen, and startling to behold.

Chae Eun Rhee creates her artwork as a landscape of the modern imagination, informed by diverse cultural inspirations such as Van Gogh, Hitchcock, and The Wizard of Oz, which collide with society’s more recent trends of social media and paparazzi exploitation. Imagery in her dense yet sweeping oil paintings thus skirts the boundary between real and imagined. Her Twister Game series, for example, is an experiment in communicating closely with viewers by transforming memories of familiar movies or art masterpieces through a heavy dose of pop culture style. Rhee delicately marries scenes of daily life to this complex cultural imagination to create a virtual story—as if our minds, saturated with visual information, had unceremoniously spilled onto a canvas without regard for space or time. The result gives viewers a chance to see the coexistence of truth and falsehood, of reality and fiction, within each of us.

Sky Kim captures the flowing, constantly evolving energy of living organisms at the microscopic level in her meticulous watercolor art. Reminiscent of scanning electron microscope images, the innumerable points and lines in her work often connect to constitute the form of a circle, conveying a sense of cyclical spirituality—unending birth and rebirth, life and death—that Kim sees as a driving force and artistic motivation behind her work. Thus, her paintings are at once abstract, anatomical, spiritual, and sensual. Despite, or perhaps because of, this constant tug of war, the organic undulations in her work are comforting, yet dizzying; fluid, yet stagnant; organic, yet abstract; delicate, yet obsessive. Kim sees herself as capturing these natural patterns of energy across space and time, and in the process asking us to imagine a deeper reality: that we ourselves are composed of such stuff.

Admission to the opening reception including talks by the artists on Friday, August 3 at 6:00 p.m. is free and open to the public, but registration is required at www.KoreaCultureDC.org. Expanding Spacetime will remain on view through September 4, 2018.

About the Artists
Chae Eun Rhee received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and participated several residency programs, including at Vermont Studio Center in the U.S. and Artery Art Space in the Philippines. She has been actively involved in exhibitions both in Korea and the U.S., was selected for Iceland’s NES Artist Residency, and is expanding her artistic activities overseas.

Sky Kim received her MFA from Pratt Institute in New York and has participated in residencies at New Museum in New York and Kunsthauset Messen in Norway. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in Korea, U.S., UK, Mexico, and Australia, among other countries, and is expanding her artistic activities on the world stage.

Korean Cultural Center is located at 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW. To learn more, visit www.KoreaCultureDC.org.