September 2007: Una Kim

Una Kim Artist Statement
The artistic focus of my recent work, drawing from a culmination of life experiences, is the juxtaposition of image and character and the transformation of their visual and verbal meanings.

My early exposure to Chinese and Korean art while growing up in Korea, and my studies of Asian art while living in Korea as an adult, gave me an appreciation of the aesthetics of early Korean and Chinese painting, calligraphy, and the powerful interrelationships between word and image.  My recent works explore text, pattern, paint and the tension between reading a text for meaning and looking at its visual form.  By cutting and pasting written or mass-produced text alongside drawn images or images from the mass media, I am able to draw out hitherto unseen possibilities into creative works with both personal and public meanings.

In my recent "Immigrant Series," I use simple geometric shapes to bring balance to paintings.  It is a balance act between flat geometric shapes and some elements of the nature, e.g., twigs, leaves, fish, flowers, etc.  I start working by putting images together in ways that carry my expression and these painting often end up being a personal symbol, a symbol that communicates my fear of the world as an immigrant. This series examines the stages of my growth as an immigrant and the perpetual waiting an immigrant is to do in a foreign culture.  The waiting never ends, as we are not to go back to the homeland.

My paintings are constructions of memories, sentiments, and messages.  They are physically constructed with many layers of paints and collages.  Layers of drawing and painting go with patterns as a way to find a central place of personal power and meaning in the midst of conflicting powers and cultures, east and west, female and male, native and an immigrant, parent and a child.