Artist Case Study 2: Kwang Ho Shin

I begin by mentioning again one of the things that emerged as I experimented with pouring paint: influencing the paint. Jonathan said that a beautiful poured painting is the result of a kind of harmony between the painter and the paint, each anticipating the other’s next move in a beautiful symphony. That is definitely one of the ways in which we can arrive at the kind of painting we imagine.

Another way, I discovered, is to use textures (and this is something I have used with inks earlier to make calligraphy paintings). If you create a textured underpainting before pouring the paint onto the canvas, you can lend it a degree of form. This is what I did to create the rough shape of a peach in the painting “Inside the peach there was a stone”.

At the same time, I went on a little virtual journey to discover artists who may have been using textures, ink, and pouring acrylics to create some interesting work. I stumbled across the work of Kwang Ho Shin and immediately fell in love.

Why did his work interest me? Because he too seeks to explore the story of the inner mind of the artist as well as the subject. This is what Yavuz Gallery had to say about his work:

Shin believes that realism captures only the likeness of the model, rather than their emotions or those of the artist. Deliberately disregarding precise form and harmonious colour, he uses distortion and exaggeration to express and extend the inner life of his subjects into external reality.

And I wholeheartedly agree!

The paintings of his that interest me the most are the ones which are least precise. The ones that focus the most on abstract forms and color. The ones with the least specific identity are the ones that seem to possess the most personality.

The roots of Kwang Ho Shin’s work inspired me even more. He claimed to be following the school of ‘abstract expressionism’, which was more dedicated to emotional intensity and spontaneity than to realistic depiction of the subject. Here’s a pretty succinct summary of what it is:

Abstract expressionist value expression over perfection, vitality over finish, fluctuation over repose, the unknown over the known, the veiled over the clear, the individual over society and the inner over the outer.

— William C. Seitz, American artist and Art historian

So where did Kwang Ho Shin’s work lead me? It led me to exploring what would happen if I placed a lot of impasto strokes on the canvas BEFORE pouring any paint over it. It also inspired me to create a painting of a faceless person; would I be able to create something that represented emotion?

It essentially led me to imagine my next piece which was for “The Other Story Project–Illustrated”, something I will discuss in the very next blog post.

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