"To the child left in the dark room - I gave a small star."
Gallery Afternoon is pleased to present 〈BLUMINOUS〉, a solo exhibition by Kim Seul-gi (b.1990) from September 3 to October 29. All exhibition halls will be dedicated to exhibiting Kim’s works during the exhibition period.
Kim Seul-gi completed her formal training in painting at Baekseok University in 2014. By 2019, she was painting full-time. Her works quickly caught the art-appreciating attention of millennials and drew her to the forefront of millennial artists in Korea.
Seul-gi paints characters somewhere between adulthood and childhood, of boys and girls quietly bracing in growing pains, learning how to fit into their own individual adulthood.
Her recent works have taken on blue over the canvas. Blue is a color of rough encounters, bruises, and melancholy, but the canvas also embraces a warm illuminating gleam. Distinctly delicate but textured brushstrokes mark the canvas, oddly familiar like a fairy tale told over a dimly lit kitchen counter.
Seul-gi presents 48 new works this exhibition. A portmanteau of blue and luminous, the artist imagined the blues of growth pains with an inner glow. Inspired by a verse in The Book of Questions, a collection of brief poems by Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, Seul-gi’s brushwork has been profuse as of late. Like the message she hopes to reach all who are growing in pain, she no longer avoids the ache but accepts it in tranquility, to be made whole through her own practice.
Playing house, paper boat, melodeon (reed organ), dandelion, lotus leaves in her paintings are each recollected from Seul-gi’s childhood memories, some from childhood play. A paper boat cast to the night sea, a lotus leaf deflecting streaks of rain - these scenes resonate with a distinct sensibility stemming from the artist’s inner depths. To the grown child left in the dark room, Seul-gi gave a small star.
We grow up not knowing that we are growing up - and old. And when we realize our childhood has passed, we also realize we have this personality that sets us apart as individuals, each walking down our own path at a pace that we think is best. Our child, the past, sometimes lingers as trauma, and sometimes it makes sense to masquerade, just to fit in.
Each of us, adult-escents in our own ways, clumsy and insecure as first-time hikers on a winding incline path to adulthood. This exhibitions is for us.
It is fine to be without watershed moments in life. It is fine not to dredge out painful pasts. All I offer are simple reminders to heal.
Blue is a color of rough encounters, bruises, and melancholy, and that is where my works begin, but not where they end; they concludes in the azure and adriatics of nature. Its tranquility heals and calms.
Sincerity eventually finds an audience, even without fancy words. Here, the trees and the bushes, the warm gleaming lights gently forward that message. My long-cherished desire - to be myself and also the other - is present in the boy, the girl, the flamingo. I paint with the hope that our every moment is caught in the warmest brilliance. It suggests surviving, flourishing, and even finding that path toward our Shangri-La.