Grace Eun shin Kim


Grace Eunshin Kim

My work has been largely influenced by the divine images of the 13th to 15th century European Renaissance artists like Giotto, Far Angelico and Piero della Francesca. I find the sense of light and the orderliness in those images very seductive.  And it was the way those images relate to human experience, all its splendours and failures, that moved me deeply. The visual language depicting biblical/mythological narratives and allegories is simple, almost naive, yet compelling.

The saints and ordinary people depicted in those paintings hungered for eternal life and faith while being trapped by the immediacy of everyday life and earthly desire. The tension between who we are here and now versus what we aspire to be generates a great anxiety. Nevertheless, the artists of those images almost auspiciously present their figures in their conflicting state with commanding clarity, compassion, and a hint of humour at times. Perhaps the paintings are their way of speaking to their audience: “You too? Me too!”

I make paintings that share the similar kind of anxiety/discomfort, compassion, and humour found in human experiences, good and bad, high and low, beautiful and ugly, and everything else in between. The figures are painted in an imagined time and place, clothes and equipped with possessions suggesting the kind of activities and predicaments they inhabit. And despite all uncertainty, solitude, and anguish we experience in this life, I hope these paintings help me and hopefully the viewers orient towards the wonderments that come with them, the wonderments shaped by rich sensations, powerful emotions, and humour.

Should We or Should We Not
Full House I
Full House II
Waiting (for...)
Self-portrait With Cat
Three Sons