Una Kim
Artist’s Statement

Artist’s Statement

I paint from both reality and imagination. As an immigrant I am caught in the historical crosscurrents of two very different cultures and two very different modernisms. While Korea still has shamans, peasants, and ritualistic festivals and dances, American modernism long ago relegated such realities to the primitive slot. I try to bring this reality to my work because it informs my way of looking at the world. I don’t make paintings for institutions or art collectors and when I do sell something it is because of the desire of the buyer to have a work of art that is not made for any other purpose than to be what it was meant to be. My works are the result of my struggle with content and form and not any particular artistic process or skill that I have mastered. Because of my migration to America from a very different place my pictorial possibilities are not limited to the Western canon. There are times when I use the simple beauty of the written Korean language for its resonance with other images and forms. I like colors and images to radiate off the canvass and I often paint images of exuberance and motion, of the power concentrated in the human form. I also paint images of submission and the theme of “not seeing” figures in my work. While I don’t paint animals I do paint monstrous beings that inhabit a nebulous space in the world of my imagination. I try not to let the boundaries between representative art and abstract art influence my work or for that matter, my thinking and seeing.