Artist Man Hee Kim Page
In an era dominated by photography and recycled images, Man Hee Kim (1948- ) evokes a fresh, dazzling vision in his subtly nuanced paintings. For over sixty years Kim has painted in his native Korea, as well as in Paris and New York where his work became deeply rooted in modernist traditions. Kim began as a painter in the manner of French Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Throughout his career he has absorbed a myriad of influences from both the East and the West, yet his work eludes being defined by a single nationality or culture. His points of reference are both more individual and more international in outlook than most abstract painters working today. His evocative transliterations encompass the best of both worlds. Kim has a highly intuitive ability to empty the image of all coherent narrative content, concentrating on pure form with exceptional delicacy and lyrical finesse. By avoiding precise description and freed from literal interpretation, the paintings suggest variable states of mind and mood.
Kim was keenly interested in art from a very young age and began drawing at about the same time he learned to speak. In elementary school, his teachers encouraged his compulsion to draw and soon he had advanced to watercolors and plein air work. At the age of ten, he entered a state level art challenge, the Korean national drawing competition and succeeded in winning first prize. His award was Encyclopedia Britannica which he eagerly consumed. The next year he won second prize in the same competition which encouraged him to experiment with other media.
Respecting the physical and formal elements of a lyrically heightened Asian aesthetic, yet learning from European and American modernism, Kim has synthesized the key qualities of both Eastern and Western traditions.
-- Robert P. Metzger, PhD