Wihro Kim American, b. 1991


"When I look at certain paintings of mine, I remember vividly the moments I was painting them, the surrounding area, my brother passing by, the sunlight from a window, the music I was listening to. These are not details I tried to remember, but they were the things I saw when I was not looking at the painting, which held an intense concentration. I think it’s something about a mediated experience that allows for the feeling I’m failing to describe. It is a feeling of focus and stepping out of your own thought processes."


- Wihro Kim

“This current body of work deals with a somewhat paradoxical notion of big, intimate space. Big, intimate space touches on an imagined sense of grandiosity evoked from unlikely places- small places, flat places, places that might be confused for objects or air, or places that are literally a few inches from your nose. Some of these “places” include sheets of paper, trees, other natural scenes, screens, and domestic settings like walls or corners. This big, intimate space feels large, almost infinite, but is revealed in small, finite moments. The paintings in this show do not attempt to depict this space (a futile endeavor), but aim to provoke the desire and curiosity necessary to glimpse this realm that exists between perception and imagination.


The paintings in this show spring forth from moments when I had experienced this private expanse, and attempt to provide a pathway to that vista. Drawing from real moments, the paintings take that setting and build up in successive layers until a sensation of that large other space is felt. This is done primarily by overlapping different pictorial and conceptual orders to create an expansive sense of depth that feels simultaneously known and ambiguous, permeable in one sense and obtuse in another. Other formal polarities are utilized against one another to aid in the navigation towards that airy but stable sensation, balancing on poles such as hard and soft, abstract and figurative, loose and tight, vague and explicit.


Through a mostly careful process of layering, the final image is constructed from an amalgamation of several different time periods of when the painting was being worked. Some marks from the very beginning of the painting are preserved, either by masking them off or through a more intuitive avoidance. Something that appears to be the background may have been the last thing to be painted, and vice versa. This somewhat contrived way of layering is done with the aim to further the effect of that paradoxical, expansive simultaneity of air and solidity. “


Wihro Kim is an artist based in Atlanta, GA, where he received his BFA from Georgia State University in 2015. Since graduating, Wihro has shown consistently in Atlanta and beyond. Notable group exhibitions include OfOriginsandBelonging,DrawnfromAtlantaat The High Museum of Art, Painting Who? at The Zuckerman Museum, and Building a Ship from a Shipwreck at MOCA GA.


Notable solo exhibitions include Memorandumland at Institute 193 in Lexington, KY, Living Room at The Atlanta Contemporary, and Nothing Lasts Forever Until It Does at Mammal Gallery. Wihro has also displayed work at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the form of a mural entitled New Plane Blooming and a group exhibition- Inside the Perimeter. Wihro was a finalist for the 2017-18 Edge Award, and while he was in school at Georgia State, he was awarded the Vera Jernigan Green Memorial Art Award. In 2017, Wihro attended the Vermont Studio Center, and was a Hughley Fellow from 2016-17. Wihro has been written about in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Burnaway, and ArtsATL.


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