Kwangho Shin : Face Me

I was flipping through the October 2014 issue of the Art review, when I came across the image below advertising an exhibition.  I was immediately struck by it, so much so that I photo copied it and placed in my journal for further research.

kwangho shin face meThe artist, Shin Kwang Ho (or Kwangho Shin), is from South Korea, best known for his abstract portraits in paint, which are attempt to capture human emotion in its complexity.

In this painting, one is immediately drawn to his use of colour, and the bold use of heavy strokes and paint application.  Whilst the face is somewhat blurred by this heavy texture of paint and colour, the eyes peer out with crystal blue clarity.  I have the sense that emotions are raging, all the while there is an absolute awareness looking out that is not influenced, yet embedded within, the emotional context of physical existence.

The dichotomy of blurred and clarity in the representation of a face, calls the viewer to consider the meaning of emotion vs thought, and their relationship.  This is further supported by looking at his other work which is almost entirely portraiture.

In this post-postmodern era, one could define Kwangho’s work as post-milleniumism, as described by cultural theorist Eric Gans, where the depiction of victimisation of the post-modern era has been replaced by a “non-victimary dialogue” that seeks to “diminish…the amount resentment in the world”.  One could also look to supermodernity, best described by literary theorist Terry Eagleton.  Here we see the move away from the deconstructionism of the post-modern era where there can be no truths due to relativism, and towards an era where there is an absolute truth by virtue of physical existence which is the parameter by which this world is experienced.

Kwangho’s inspiration comes principally from the art of Alex Kanevsky, Antony Micallef and Justin Mortimer.  All three are successful contemporary figurative artists.




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