The on-campus Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery opened its new season on Friday, Sept. 7, with Invitation to Paradise, the latest solo exhibit by Professor of Fine Arts Hee Sook Kim. Curated by Anna Choi, director of the Culture Communication Center and adjunct professor of fine art at Chugye University for the Arts in South Korea, this new show features works inspired by the Korean Longevity Paintings (Sipjangsaeng-do) and the landscapes of northern New Mexico that captivated Kim during a trip last year.
The level of detail on Kim’s most recent works is painstaking. They feature three-dimensional embellishments—including hand-affixed rhinestones, flowers, and artificial nails—and many of them are either quite large or, as in the case of “Paradise Between, Series 2,” are made up of many panels, enveloping viewers with their scale.
Those who entered the gallery on Friday night for an opening talk by Kim and a reception were welcomed into a calming, meditative space—thanks to canvases filled with motifs from Korean folk paintings and the spiritual expanse of New Mexican landscapes—that aimed to be an antidote to the noise and frustration of contemporary life.
Invitation to Paradise is on view in the gallery through Oct. 12, and there are two related events planed over the course of the next month: a laser-cut relief printmaking workshop with Kim, Fine Arts Assistant Shannon Murphy, and VCAM MakerArts technician Kent Watson (for which registration is required); and a talk on the Korean screen paintings of the Joseon Dynasty given by Hyunsoo Woo, the Maxine and Howard Lewis Curator of Korean Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Photos by Dex Coen Gilbert ’21 and Lisa Boughter.