March 2020 Unicorn Of The Month: Nancy Kim
|"Riso Amaro" VSC install: Approximately 47 x 59 inches. Acrylic paint skins, thread,|
terra cotta, porcelain, stoneware rice balls. 2019
"I have been looking at microscopic imagery of disease. I have been talking about diasporic identity through food. I have been dreaming of ghosts and jellyfish."
I am a 2nd generation Korean-American, recent 1st generation Italian citizen: I am a “citizen-other.” I draw from my experiences of otherness and codify them into elements of art to create pieces both appealing and disturbing, familiar and strange. In reaction to the language of fear and xenophobia often tied to immigrants, I consider the visual codes of science, examination, and disease. My works toy with the absurdity and sadness in everyday parlance often related to disease that ties immigrant bodies to “foreign bodies.” I find myself trapped in the language and looking at myself as both a subject and object in space.
I am again and again caught between contexts. I have had to build and recreate my own contexts within pre-existing ones. My work has reflected this aspect by working with elements and symbols of pointed ambiguity and double entendre like the banana and rice. More recently my works have been exploring this liminal space by moving away from direct paint on canvas and instead moving towards installation, making the architecture of a space the canvas.
|"Saturn Dreaming: Mercury Across The Border"40.5 x 43 in. Ink stamped bananas, acrylic paint on cut and pinned paper. 2018|
I started to encase objects, material, and painted patterns—fragments of thought—into resin, and then shifted to poured acrylic media. At the time, I did not know how they would exist in the world. They just wanted to be made. My earliest versions were small flat object/organisms haphazardly covering the floors and furniture of my studio, gently existing without aim. Once I started embedding thread as in Yellow Belly and Bite of the Medusa, they wanted to attach and bounce the color of their backs off the whiteness of the walls. The pieces could now talk more directly with their surroundings and acclimate to transitioning spaces and places.
"Bite Of The Medusa"62 x 62 in. Acrylic paint on watercolor paper pieces and yellow thread
embedded in Acrylic paint skin and pinned to wall by internal threads. 2018
"Yellow Belly" 27.5 x 26 in. Spray paint and yellow thread embedded in acrylic paint
skin and pinned to wall by internal threads. 2018
At Vermont Studio Center this past November, I had access to a kiln for the first time since the ceramics mold-making class I took years ago. I have been working with processes and approaches learned in that class consistently throughout my painting practice. With the guidance of fellow resident artist/ceramicist Andrea Du Chatenier, I reapplied those approaches to clay. And I started creating ceramic balls that anchor the “jelly” skins as in I drew a line for you: And it was all Yellow. Resembling bits of coral and fossil, the balls suggest an opaque history that pins the floating “jelly” to the wall.
"I Drew A Line For You: And It Was All Yellow"
29 x 38 in. Acrylic paint skin, thread, stoneware
|"Riso Amaro" Detail 1.|
|"Riso Amaro" Detail 2.|
|"Riso Amaro" Detail 3.|
My works are meant to be looked at and looked into. Appealing and disturbing, they are meant to trigger a sensory experience. They are meant to act as metaphors for otherness with the bite of a slapstick joke.
To see more of Nancy's work, visit her Website and Instagram Page.