HaYoung Kim (b. 1983) graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in the UK in 2008 and earned her doctorate at the University of East London in 2015. Based in the UK, she actively in residency programs that took her to New York, Scotland, and Germany. With each relocation, the artist’s works incorporated the changes in life. Now, her practice has encountered motherhood, setting her on a path she shares as the most profound, to her life and artistic practice. It was a journey which placed her in a world revealed only to artists that have given birth to a life from their very physical being.
The artist experienced motherhood through childbirth and parenting. She was inspired by the physical and emotional changes experienced in this phase in her life, and also moved by her child’s perspective of this novel experience upon a state of tabula rasa. The exhibition title Pictures Born at Home is largely a description of that experience. Rearing her child, she began to capture the feelings of attachment and love, as well as symbolic images of the child’s world.
The Willow Tree series of works were inspired by the sight of birch tree branches in the breeze gently stroking the child. The gentle caress struck her with a maternal note, an act of comfort and protection over her child. The experience helped Kim focus on a facet of adore in her mother-child relationship. By capturing that adore in her artistic practice, she discovered therapy and even self-improvement. Her newfound interest in children’s picture books also inspired a series of narratives that are distinct from her previous works.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are small and soft, flexible, and precious beings, an expression of the fetal state leading up to recognition of personhood. These small beings, filled with boundless potential and energy are vessels and mediums for the world of healing and innocence she experienced in her encounter with her newborn child overlapped with encounters with her inner child.
HaYoung Kim’s Home series of works reflect the artist’s thoughts on the 'home', an affectively charged space. The artist encountered bouts of nostalgia during her study abroad, wanting the rest and sanctuary of her familiar space. As immediate return was out of question, she chose to find such homeliness not in physical space, but in the physical being—the body of flesh and blood. In motherhood, this concept has developed into perspectives of the self as the resting place in which the child finds sanctuary, comfort, and emotional fulfillment.
Home is place of rest, restoration, and stability where individuality is also developed; a cradle to our developing identity. HaYoung Kim’s latest paintings glow with the familiar warmth and intimate sentimentality of home that are only found in places of childhood rich with passing memories and experiences that only a child capture over innocent time. There are moments of human interaction with the child, of parental responsibility, familial comfort, and ambiguity of childhood. Each painting reflects our inner selves, like a play of shadows and light, symbolically capturing our desires, dreams, hopes, and contributions.
Exhibition subtitle Pictures Born at Home, showcases works that depict the artist's maternal love and the world of the child. These works, based on the artist's personal experiences and stories, speak with empathy and emotion to viewer.
HaYoung Kim’s paintings are honest tellings of her stories and feelings, now which include thoughts on homeliness and motherly love. Through works inspired by creative inspiration at home, she wants to provide an opportunity to reflect on our lives, love, and the importance of family.
The paintings bridge the artist's inner and outer world—a bridge that viewers are also invited to stroll over to discover their own inner and outer distinctions. We invite you to follow along the artist’s homeliness, maternal love, and the timeless beauty of it all. As we are all a child to a mother, this exhibition is for you.