If you're looking for some quiet optimism today, Danym Kwon's latest series of serene paintings transforms the mundane into moments of peace and reflection, all mixed up with 1990s vibes.
Step into Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco this January, and you'll be greeted by the inviting warmth of Danym Kwon 's latest exhibition, A Soft Day. Kwon, an artist with a keen eye for the calm moments in life, transforms everyday objects into a canvas of comfort and gratitude. Her pastel-infused paintings are a testament to finding happiness in simplicity.
The Seoul-based artist's first solo show at Hashimoto certainly captures the quiet beauty of leisure and repose. Each piece is a gentle reminder to appreciate life's little moments – the dull and mundane become sacred in Kwon's world. As the gallery describes: "Like a poet finds the world in a grain of sand, Kwon sees the world in a bowl, a vase, or a pile of laundry."
But her artistic journey has depths that go beyond the tranquillity depicted in her current works. Kwon initially took to the canvas to spotlight societal challenges in South Korea, crafting scenes that reflected the news and the narratives within private homes.
However, A Soft Day marks a new chapter in her career that emerged after a reflective hiatus. Kwon's art now channels her personal evolution, revealing how she found solace and strength in adversity. "As I passed through unforeseen hardships in life, I discovered gratitude and joy for my surroundings," Kwon explains. "To cherish and appreciate these moments in life, I want to see them from a new perspective by staging them in still life scenes, such as flower vases and piles of laundry."
Her paintings, influenced by both the vibrant MTV motion graphics of the 1990s and the traditional Korean 'Chaekgado' still lifes, offer a timeless quality, inviting viewers into a space where they can find their own peace. Inside their nebulous surroundings, the miniature figures she paints ride bikes in the spring, canoe in the summer, take long walks in autumn and climb mountains in the winter.
Wrapping these figures in warm shades of yellow and peach, deep blues and greens, the works are precious, like delicate vases and bowls, or cosy, like folded sweaters and blankets. Careful, clean brush strokes complete each piece, adding further calm and comfort. "I hope to convey a message of love from the world around us," she says.
The exhibition opens on 6 January and runs through 27 January 2024. It's an opportunity for art lovers to meet Kwon and experience how her work prompts us to slow down and savour the stillness. A Soft Day is more than just a visual feast; it's an introspective journey that encourages us to discover the profound joy in the day-to-day. For those interested in a dialogue with the artist, Kwon will be present on opening night, ready to share the stories behind her serene still lifes.
For those who cherish the calm and the collected, A Soft Day at Hashimoto Contemporary is a must-visit this winter. It's a chance to explore how art can mirror the restorative powers of life's simplest pleasures. Perhaps it's just the reminder we need as we embrace another new year.
A Soft Day by Seoul-based artist Danym Kwon is the first exhibition of 2024 to open at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, a gallery originally founded in 2013 by Ken Harman Hashimoto. It will launch this weekend and run throughout January.
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