If our eyes are the mirrors to our souls, then our hands are our connection to the world. Swiping a smartphone, putting food in our mouths, or opening a door, our hands turn our thoughts into reality. They can also reveal our labor, our relationships, and possibly, our potential for a long and happy life.
Bearing the fabric of traditional Korean clothing, and the marks of struggle, the hands in these paintings are colorful testaments to reunion celebrations. But they are also spectacular displays of dramatic duplicity. Uneasy embraces across history and geography, they hint at the painful reality of unending separation, clutching at fleeting and bittersweet happiness.
Other paintings feature fighting politicians, their faces comically contorted. Are their exaggerated expressions real? Or are they merely playing, posing for the cameras, for us?
Painting within a discourse of social analysis, a process of clipping media images, and classifying her subjects, Suhyun Kim challenges our sense of emotional honesty. Her images debate accountability and guilt, forcing us to question our complicity. Like photographs as witness to personal stories, her paintings depict individuals as universal archetypes, simultaneously complex and simple, like each of us.