Art in AmericaJanuary 1, 2002
In-Hyung Kim’s art feels authentically Symbolist; its visionary power and refusal to yield specific meanings fulfill Mallarmé’s goal of allusiveness and musicality. Luminous veils of white and yellow arise at the centers of her paintings, evoking indeterminate distance and establishing a mood of poetic reverie.
The recent oil paintings of flowers (all works are untitled) combine natural observation with Kim’s idea of beauty and an infusion of emotion. Images of gestation in certain works seem to evolve before our eyes. In a painting of a poppy (2000), for example, line, color and turbulent brushwork transmit a vital impulse from one form to another, and a buoyant rhythmic energy informs the whole. A painting of a flowering tree, one of the strongest works, is both active and meditative. The action is that of a tree arching with a burst of golden blossoms that flower against an intensely dark yet light-filled ground. The artist says of her technique, “I see a flower or tree which I find beautiful, then I interiorize it, and so the image changes into something more personal.”
Much of Kim’s work is characterized by the rhapsodic and lyrical, but this remarkable painter also has a strong sense of the constructive. A work of 1997, comprising 66 mixed-medium drawings, each 8 1/2 by 11 3/4 inches, is impressive for its formal cohesion, even as Kim’s versatile line evokes the metamorphoses of nature. This is a rare artist, with a passionate and compelling vision of nature.
– Margaret Sheffield