Interview with Hee Sook Kim

Interview with Hee Sook Kim

Hee Sook Kim is currently Professor of Fine Arts at Haverford College in Philadelphia area. She is a nationally and internationally recognized artists showing her work in USA, Europe, and Asia since 1981 and receiving various awards. She has been represented by Causey Contemporary Gallery (New York) and Art Mora Gallery (New Jersey & Seoul, Korea).

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?

I grew up in Korea, first studying art in middle school, and have taught for more than a decade at Haverford College, located near Philadelphia, so I have internalized experience from two very different places and cultures. I have evolved a style that includes both the ephemeral as well as the insights I gained as an artist working for more than a decade in New York.

How would you describe yourself and your artwork?

In my most recent work, I've taken the subject, both in form and imagery, of Korean historical landscape painting, which was typically made for the Korean upper class known as Yang Ban. Printing patterns on top of landscapes traditionally used in Asian paintings transforms the initial layer, now seen through a feminine veil. The painting's surface, covered with glass beadwork using shimmering rhinestones, speaks against the power of men in Korean cultural history and still prevalent in contemporary Korean society. The work is a construct/destruct/re-construct. I use my personal experiences as a woman who immigrated to the United States twenty-eight years ago, after living in Korea until I was twenty-eight years old. This equal length of experiences in two completely different countries makes possible a hybridity that presents both cultures through the eyes of my own particular feminist perspective in both my life and work.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from nature, including medicinal plants and gardens, along with Asian and Western culture.

What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?

I hope viewers can experience a kind of healing in their own way through my work, which is often rooted in healing traditions found in different cultures as well as in nature.

When do you know that an artwork is finished ?

When I see that the work is finished in terms of its contents as well as aesthetic values such as composition, colors, etc.

What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?

This past spring, when I became a full professor at Haverford College after a very difficult review process which included a thorough evaluation by many art professionals and when I received the prestigious Wind Challenge award from the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.

How long does it take to produce one work?

It depends on size--from one week to several months.

What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks? 

I am working on a series, "Re Paradise Between": Asian landscape paintings as the source interpreted through my perspective as a female Asian immigrant. They will be shown at Fleisher Art Memorial and Cantor-Fitzgerald Gallery in 2018.

Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?

Solo Exhibition: September 2018 at Cantor-Fitzgerald Gallery, "Re Paradise Between," Haverford, PA

Solo Exhibition: January 2018 at Art Mora Hannam, Spiritual Garden, Seoul, Korea

Solo Exhibition: December 2017 at Bom Farmer’s Gallery, Art Park Youmiroung, Spiritual Garden, Yangpyung, Korea

Three Persons exhibition:  April 2018-at Fleisher Art Memorial, Wind Challenge 3, Philadelphia, PA

Where do you see your art going in five years?

I will continue in my work to draw on my personal experience of different cultures as an Asian woman along with my study and exploration of the healing power of nature.


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