Gallery Hyundai is proud to present BERLIN, a solo exhibition by the artist Yun-Hee Toh. Yun-Hee Toh is one of Korea’s premier female artists, someone who has spent the past four decades creating a poetic visual language. “My work is a process in search of the hidden beauty behind phenomena,” the artist has said. Indeed, she uses her exquisite pictorial language to capture things that are concealed from the eyes or that exist hidden on the other side of the phenomena we see: fragments and secret corners of unfamiliar lives, or sides that remain obscured.
Coming seven years after Night Blossom, the solo exhibition BERLIN sees Yun-Hee Toh’s sharing a new world of painting that is quite different from her previous works. More than simply making an active use of color as one of the basic languages and materials of painting, she has begun accentuating its physical properties even more. Where Night Blossom had thin layers of paint emanating with the artist’s hand like clouds of petals in full bloom over the canvas, the paint in BERLIN is a mass of color with powerful materiality and the sensual texture of a living organism. Toh shares a bewitching aesthetic that parts ways with more familiar painting approaches—as seen in the way she creates empty spaces by creating holes on the canvas among the multiple layers formed through the mixing and overlapping of untrammeled lines and masses of color.
Stimulating the full range of the viewer’s perceptions and senses, the images in Yun-Hee Toh’s work appear like vast portals into another world—like colorful bouquets of flowers, or the afterimage of a deserted riverside at sunset. Touches like the color panoramas and waves that dominate the frame call to mind the detailed images of Impressionist painting, while the marks left by the artist’s hands as she clenched and rapidly unleashed her paints evoke the ancient wall paintings found in caves. According to the artist, these scenes are the abstract landscapes in which the different spaces and times she has experienced over the course of her life—things built up within her over time—have finally revealed themselves. In her tenacious experiments with using the language of painting to capture the worlds of the image formed by these infinitesimal perceptions, Toh finally made a shift from her previous lyrical and metaphoric work toward an approach based on “pictorial language.” Many conflicting elements both clash and harmonize in direct and sensual ways in her new series: thin and shiny surfaces with thick and murky layers, dull masses with nimble lines, brightness with darkness, intense colors with subtle energies, vast movements with movements that are almost imperceptible.
To quickly capture the bright lights, swirling colors, and floating shapes that flicker before her eyes from moment to moment before they evaporate, the artist uses every sort of tool—her own hand, her brush, the edge of a broken brush, a glass bottom, a hammer—as if in a kind of hand-to-hand combat with the canvas. From the traditional act of simply “painting,” she has progressed into dynamic gestures: feeling, rubbing, dabbing, layering, and slashing her paints. The juxtaposition and layering of masses of paint as condensations of internal energy presents a new world of abstraction that expands into the realm of the sculptural. Invoking an internal language through acts that are more intuitive and physical, Toh stresses, “Abstraction is not fantasy. It is not illusion, reverie, or imagination, but something that begins with perception. It’s about being aware of the reality—and about making that even richer in a metaphorical sense!”
+ref Gallery Hyundai