Kate Oh Gallery is delighted to present works by artists Bo Seong Kim and Jeong Ho Heo. In this two person show, Kim and Heo will present their unique perspectives on language as a universal form of expression through art. Their appreciation for the Korean language and dedication to speaking on the ambiguities of semantics and visual picture allow the viewer to experience a new way of understanding communication.

While in the writing process, I happened to put some colors on the letters, and began to feel excited at the thought of fusing art and language. That was the start of my work.

(Kim Bo Seong)

A published poet in Korea by the age of 30, artist Kim Bo Sung uses his literary background as a conduit for expressing his visual art. He is particularly interested in expressing Hangul, the Korean language, in ways that expresses the essence of Korean culture.

In his work, “Breakwater”, he references the ocean and its meaning to the Korean people, who live on a peninsula surrounded by three seas. The piece establishes the long history of Korean culture into philosophical thoughts and conceptualizes the Korean: Hangul (language), Arirang (traditional sound) and spectrum (color) into modern art. The work (Hangul Arirang) contains a message of healing and hope, not only for the Korean people but for all the people around the world.

Rather than being mired in one medium, Kim’s ideas extend into forms such as fashion, architecture, sculpture, and painting. His passion for the Korean language brings him close to concepts that resonate to not only Koreans for their direct connection with historical tradition, but also artists and members of the global community who are interested in furthering Korea’s place as a purveyor of aesthetic values. In fact, Kim Bo Sung is an active member of the artistic community in Korea as owner and director of Kim Bo Seong Art Center in Seoul. Through this his efforts, over 520 artists were able to exhibit for free at his art center. He hopes to become a stepping stone for future artists.

Heo Jung Ho also uses language to express his artistic vision. At first glance, his paintings seem to be composed of the usual lines and planes. However, if you hold a magnifying glass to his canvases, you’ll make a startling discovery—his lines are actually composed of words, letters, and sentences in Korean or English. For Heo, the exploration of semantics, language, and art began in 1999. He used newspaper article or written prayers as text to fill the background and contrast the main image. Along the way, the idea of ceramics and empty spaces began to interest him. This was because “…the essence of ceramics is empty space. I needed something to fill it,” he writes. Ceramic vessels were an apt metaphor to express his desire to explore spaces between spaces. He uses the 4 character idiom by Lao Tzu “大 盈 若 冲” which means “the gap between filling and emptying” as an epitaph of his current inspiration.

His latest works are paintings that depict white porcelain vessels on white backgrounds. In all three, he created little contrast between the background and image, inviting the viewer to look closer. Upon inspection, the viewer will notice Korean letters carefully written to represent lines and shapes. The meaning of these letters are meticulous yet mysterious. The viewer could be sure yet unsure of the exact word or letter Heo is trying to portray.

Like the reading of literature or viewing a piece of art, he hopes that the ambiguity of text and image will allow the viewer to add new meaning, thus filling their memory yet emptying it, like his paintings.