Kyu Nam Han

b. 1945 -

Biography

Han interprets Korean Modernism within the Western context and vice versa – Western Modernism within Far Eastern cultural context. He incorporates traditional values and methodologies, such as perspective and chiaroscuro of the West, and Chun (passage and grid) from the East. He blends Eastern isometric perspective with traditional Western linear perspective painting to create a fusion of both depth and flatness, and then apply calligraphic principles to recreate new pictorial images.
In his works, Han mixes two cultural genes together. The images of the street include cars, buildings, lights, etc. and the mosaics of fragmented color are masterfully demonstrated on the canvas. Han repeatedly superimposes and substitutes structures and images by overlapped lines of contours. The images, the whole drama of the surface come under the relationship of deconstruction resulted from the effective usage of various grids. At the same time, Eastern conventional calligraphic methodology has been employed as a key element in Han’s painting: 1) Hieroglyphic images correspond with structure and meaning. 2) Signified becomes signifier. 3) Meaning correlates with form resulting in an altered sense of totality, providing both irony and ambivalence. 4) Calligraphic gesture creates action. 5) Binary opposition issues transform into new perceptions.

There are continuous processes of forms deconstructed and reconstructed of their meanings occurring between the elements of hues, gradation, textures, strokes, broken lines, etc. Han creates his own form of pictorial hieroglyphs. He highlights the drama of his paintings by introducing dots on dots, orchestrating a symphony with a theme – a synthesis of opposites: a) figure/ground; b) image/structure; c) signifier/signified; d) internal/external; e) language/being; f) perspective/flatness. Together, these ambivalent elements are converging into one single totality. Han is a Formalist and Multicultural Pluralist. He has searched for new generative sources within a global cultural context in order to invent a new way of making an art form from his past and present, which, in art vernacular, can be deemed Modernist, Post-Modernist, or Neoclassical Modernist. Perhaps a better way of saying this is that he is a “genetic engineer in the painting”. Exhibitions: 2003   Atelier International Art Group, New York 2002   Anne French Fine Arts, Miami – Gold Key of the City of Bay Harbor was given to the artist by mayor Atelier International Art Group, New York 2000   Michail Lombando Gallery, New York 1999   Artsforum Gallery, New York 1998   Blue Hill Cultural Center Ellen Kim Murphy Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1996   Mi Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1995   Hong Kong International Art Exposition, Hong Kong Walker Hill Art Center, Seoul, Korea 1992   Yuna Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1991   Sun Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1990   Azart Gallery, Seattle WA 1988   Sun Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1984   John Harms Performing Center,Englewood, New Jersey 1977   Hopkins Hall, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Commissions & Collections: L.H. Funk Foundation, Basel Switzerland American Express Headquarters, New York Supreme Court, Seoul, Korea Samsung Corporation, Seoul, Korea Hoam Museum, Seoul, Korea Sun Kyung Corporation, Seoul, Korea Commercial Bank of Korea, New York Han IL Bank, Seoul, Korea Sung San Corporation, Oregon WA Tristar Corporation, Seoul, Korea Gana Art, Seoul, Korea Link to New York Times coverage – New York Times