Framed: So Hollow, So Pure - Exhibition Opening

Framed: So Hollow, So Pure - Exhibition Opening

The first solo Australian exhibition from Perth based visual artist Kim Kim Kim.

Kim Kim Kim is a Perth based artist focused almost exclusively on portraiture painting. The recent Fine Art graduate is quickly making a name for herself, exhibiting in a notable collection of group shows this year, much to the delight of those concerned with the current Perth art scene. I first came across Kim Kim’s work while she was still a student at Curtin University, an obvious favourite of mine amongst the other works exhibited during last years graduate show. Her use of colour immediately appealed, a combination of an effervescent palette and distinctly emotive brush work create an engaging depiction of her subjects. Kim Kim’s work reflects a balance between abstract and realism, Throughout her portraits there is an element of commentary regarding digital media and a ‘reaction to the photographic perception-affected world’. The emotionlessness of those Kim Kim paints creates what she refers to as a ‘blankness’, the neutrality of her subjects allows the viewer to project their own narrative. A mechanism ‘through which the vision of our desire is emptied and fractured’ she states. 

Artist Statement

In my work, I am focused on the tradition of portrait painting, yet particularly the changes that have happened within the representation of the human subject through the advent of digital photography. The spaces that are opened to the portrait painter through these new media of digital photography are vast: there is an abundance of images in the world, and there are millions of faces. Yet the photographic media in its naked form is a blank substrate, onto which light and shadow are projected and it is the artist who gives the feeling and sensibility as well as additional aesthetic dimensions to that.

Here is the subject of my work: Painting as the reaction to the photographic perception-affected world. Unlike photography, painting no longer relies on flatness, instead it has branched out in the expanded field where I see paint as a sculptural material to add physicality to my portraits. Through the lens of portraiture I explore the possibility of painting medium through the synergy effect of the figurative & abstract painting and spontaneous methodology. I have attempted to create a conversation and balance between photographic realism of said source material and the sculptural materiality, abstraction and spontaneity of painting.

The face in my work is emptied of expression. They are blank figures, onto which we project – and from which I have painted. I have taken, in both the sense of action and appropriation, these photos, these faces, and have then used them for my paintings. The idea that the life of a being could be revealed through an appearance is negated in the blank looks, the washed out appearance of white stretches of canvas, and the thick, gristly paint that is mounded up in parts of the work. The sublimation of detail in broad strokes and empty canvas, or the congealed impasto surfaces are both stylistic and tortured, but made photographic bound to the image that is all pervasive in the world.

The contemporary subject has become disenchanted, bored, and fascinated with the image. These beautiful faces that I have stolen, these young, empty signs, they are just that: signs through which the vision of our desire is emptied and fractured.


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