Monday, January 28, 2008

Hee Sook Kim

My work is based on the spiritual and healing power of nature related in childhood memories and cultural disclosure of hidden, ambiguous, mysterious, yet empowering aspects of Korean women: awareness of female identity has been intertwined with ancient Asian philosophy, herbal remedies for curing diseases and disorders, and mysterious reminiscences of childhood.My interests in nature, mysterious healing power of it, began in 1995 when I placed an acupunctural diagram of a human body in a work on paper. Right after the September 11, thoughts on life and death budded and grew based on personal experiences. Organic shapes and leaves stared to appear as the implication of generational rotations of a life’s circle. Acceptance of mental and physical sufferings and loss of lives responded through searches for the cure and healing of them in progress: images of herbal plants and texts of herbal treatments used in different cultures emerged gradually. In the summer of 2003, a residency in Taos NM, lead me to a different stage of collecting natural plants in mountains and prairies. It transformed into the creation of communications through spaces, words and languages, lines and shapes, colors and emotions, layers and mysteries, lightness and darkness, and consciousness and fate.In my childhood, herbal remedies were common methods my grandmother always used for treating various physical disorders and diseases, which reminded me of the increasing interests in Asian herbal remedies to cure diseases as a reasonably fresh attitude towards unknown knowledge; ancient Asian theory states that we could find a remedy in herbs if there is a disease. Images of wild herbal weeds are carefully selected to deliver their inherent natures to cure physical, mental disorders and diseases. Texts are adopted to prove medical effectiveness in remedies; herbal remedies as recognition of a different culture, Asian culture in this country. Visually layered surfaces are designed to create ambiguity, mystery, hidden power, and spirituality.Words are openings, portals to other worlds rooted in magical places where sense is a new way of thinking, where thinking is embodied in breathing. Intimate visual spaces conjured by spirituality invites viewers to a special journey: into an imaginary land, the work.

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