Mixed media on canvas, 2019
Size US: 48 x 60 x 2 in
Size Europe: 122 x 152.4 x 5 cm
Hyun combines traditional Korean painting with Western abstract imagery using natural materials to create innovate mixed-media works that are rich in both color and texture.
Hyun Ae Kang represents Korean Dansaekhwa movement - “monochrome painting” – a style of abstract painting that arose during the second half of the 1970s, combining Korean aesthetics and Far Eastern philosophy with Western modernist practice. Dansaekhwa artists used the ideas of ancient eastern philosophical schools, in particular Buddhism and Taoism, to explain their work, which was, rather, an artistic act.
If you look closely at the details of the paintings of artists of this movement, you can see that the surface is composed of numerous small textures of the material, made by countless repeated application and removal of strokes. Such a repeated, long act of creation reminds the long and very painful meditation of a Buddhist monk in an attempt to achieve nirvana. This incomplete process of searching for the deepest truths of oriental philosophical teachings by “talking” the artist with the material and creating a “silent” picture is the main goal of this artistic movement.
Dansaekhwa is a movement that focuses on the exploration of monochromic colors, and explores how those colors induce a meditative state within an individual.
Being a deeply religious person, Hyun spends a lot of time in prayers before starting work. She continues the dialogue with the sacred:
"All the touches and strokes I use are inscriptions of the dialogues with the sacred. These inscriptions are based on Korean alphabet characters and glyphs. When I create my reliefs onto the canvases, I think of myself as a scribe that is carving messages from the heavenly force into the worldly materials of stones and pumice. And with these inscriptions, I hope viewers will be able to reflect upon them and gain insights they could have not achieved beforehand", - Hyun Ae Kang.
Hyun Ae Kang's artwork resides in the permanent collections of the Art Museum of Seoul, the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, California, and the Brea Museum and Historical Society, in California.
Kang's work will also be featured in an upcoming retrospective at Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, California, in 2021. The exhibition will be the first retrospective for the artist in the United States and will showcase works from her early career in South Korea as well as her most current projects. The exhibition, which will span the entire 5000 square feet of the museum space, will include works of sculpture, painting, and ceramics by the Korean-American artist.