NEW YORK—Geometric shapes and organic patterns and textures, are voluminous, cyclical and endlessly repeated throughout the watercolors in “Sacred Geometries.” The Chashama exhibit includes 10 works on paper by Sky Kim that each have distinct ethereal and spiritual qualities that consume the gallery space. It’s an intriguing vibe, the viewer wants to know more about the artist and understand the inspirations for her work.
Arts Observer reached out to Sky Kim to learn more about her watercolors. The Korean-born artist studied at Pratt Institute and lives and works in New York. She says the loss of her twin sister at birth has remained with her, influencing her philosophy on life and factoring greatly in her creative process. The following are excerpts from her responses to several questions via email.
Belief in Reincarnation
My inspiration comes from my philosophical belief in “reincarnation.” My work is largely influenced by the loss of my twin sister at birth on an unconscious level. Ever since I was little, I have always felt empty inside for no particular reason. I’ve tried to figure out why I am here when she is not? What is my life purpose? I looked everywhere to find an answer, including spiritual books, religions, meditation, yoga, etc. I finally found a partial answer to my questions, the incarnation, which explains many things in my opinion.
Above, Detail of “Untitled,” 2011 (watercolor on paper). Top of page, Detail of untitled scrolls.
Shape and Life
Through numerous lives, we complete our life cycle and become spiritually advanced. This realization influenced my work a great deal. I began to use the repetition of circles and wiggly lines to create patterns that represent the wheel of life—the reincarnation. A circle is an absolute form you can find in nature. When you draw a circle, there is no beginning or end. You always come back to the point where you started, just like our life process, the principle of Yin and Yang.
How the Scrolls Came About
I usually get a roll of paper and I used to cut it into certain sizes. One day, I just wanted to continue the nice flow of energy I was having, thinking to myself “why not paint the whole roll?” That’s how I started the scroll series. I record my raw emotions of the moment on 30 foot-long scrolls just like writers used to use an old-fashioned typewriter to tell their stories.
Labor of Love
Since my work is a labor-intensive, detailed one, it takes a long time to be completed. I work on one piece at a time. One of the scrolls took me almost six months to finish (above) and that piece is the one that seems to speak to people. Viewers often tell me that it feels like something is emitting from the work. They probably feel the energy “Ki,” or vibration, that I put in during the creation of the work.
I hope that my work gives viewers an opportunity to ask themselves who they were before and who they are now. Following one dot after another all the way into the core of my painting and connecting dots of their own life might lead my viewers to the center of their being and discover wholeness.
Sky Kim’s “Sacred Geometries” includes 10 works on exhibit in a vacant storefront space at 655 3rd Avenue (between 41st and 42nd streets). The Chishama show is on view from March 13 to March 26, 2012.
All photos by Arts Observer