Top Korean Contemporary Artists 30 and under working in NYC

New York is the art capital of our world for various reasons. The museums, galleries, and strings of artists who you bump into at different cocktail receptions, all adds the fuel to propel the engine of the endless artistic creations. Being an art capital of the world also attracts an abundant of international artists here either for school or for their studio life. Today we highlight several Korean contemporary artists age 30 and under currently in the New York City and making waves in the art world.

1. Jiyong Sim (@jiyongsimstudio)

Image courtesy of  Jiyong Sim studio .

Image courtesy of Jiyong Sim studio.

Image courtesy of  Jiyong Sim studio .

Image courtesy of Jiyong Sim studio.

Image courtesy of  Jiyong Sim studio .

Image courtesy of Jiyong Sim studio.

Jiyong Sim is a young emerging Korean contemporary fine artist, who is working in New York. He is known as creating his iconic textural work of ‘White series.’ The two fundamental elements for Jiyong’s works are the texture of the broken stone and the simplicity evoked from the white color. This unique crackle texture mixed with different types of stone mediums makes a value structure through the natural color of materials. As the dense texture meets the white plane color on the canvas, it creates a specific territory, and it organizes, separates, concentrates, and balances various areas within the painting. Employing the mixture of white surface and conspicuous texture comes from his understanding of Western aesthetics gained from his studying and working in New York and understanding of Korean traditional aesthetics.

On his ‘White Series,’ he has based on traditional eastern aesthetics called ‘Aesthetics of Yeo-Baek,’ which means the beauty of the emptiness. Different from a western point of view about the void, in Asian culture, emptiness is not a meaningless void or a blank. It instead functions as a generous room for viewers to fill in with their thoughts. Moreover, the beauty of emptiness is the gentle and embracing gesture of open space. It is a factor that activates the weight and tensions in the whole work of his paintings.

Arguably, this idea of aesthetics is highly related to ‘Dansaekhwa movements’ (Korean Monochrome Painting) such as Lee Ufan and Ha Chong-Hyun’s works, and Jiyong has been inspired by their works a lot. However, he is not just following up Dansaekhwa movement, and rather he continues developing his artistic language toward the next steps.

2. Jade Black (@JADEBLACK88)

Image courtesy of  Jade Black studio .

Image courtesy of Jade Black studio.

Image courtesy of  Jade Black studio .

Image courtesy of Jade Black studio.

Image courtesy of  Jade Black studio .

Image courtesy of Jade Black studio.

Jade Black is a young emerging Korean artist, who is based in New York. He has no boundary for types of art, and he always challenges new visual experiments to the viewer. Based on his own point of view about the universe and society, his works always questioning to the society about socio-cultural issues and problems by presenting the various types of works including painting, sculpture, illustration, installation, fashion, and performance. He is always eager to send a message to this generation of people beyond age, country, and race.

While Jade was considering the current generation who are located and lived on the gap between online and offline, he created his own visual language called “The internet windows floating on naked bodies.” To create this idea to a physical object, the project called “Information Overload,” he printed the images that he collected on the Internet on the transparent PVC and cut these images and sew it as the form of the clothes. Moreover, he and his performance team wore these clothes and went out to the streets as the form of performance art. The features of performances, who roam the real world while surrounded by Internet windows, ask audiences in various cities about the boundary between virtual and reality, and the identity of modern people who live between those boundaries.

3. Juntae TeeJay Hwang (@juntaeteejay)

Image courtesy of  Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Image courtesy of Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Image courtesy of  Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Image courtesy of Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Image courtesy of  Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Image courtesy of Juntae TeeJay Hwang studio.

Juntae TeeJay Hwang is a young artist based in New York, who works as a various form of art such as painting, ceramics, performance, and sculptural video installation. His work is exploring the idea of escapism and questioning about the strict prescriptive trends of modern western hierarchical structures of the art world.

He built his works as various forms from the fact that people could obsess with conflicts, misunderstandings, and prejudices that could occur when different cultures were meeting together. In other words, based on his personal experience of living as a foreigner in the west, he attempted to escape a conventional image of the west central, globalized world. Moreover, his work leads to capture the dystopian point of view in this reality. For example, his well-known ‘Blue Salmon Series’ is a site-specific video installation work that embodies a new revolution and settlement to discover new safe and suitable breeding grounds, as well as a space to experience and share with people who lost something. For him, 'Blue Salmon' is a project for unknown people who could not overcome the many barriers. Also, the metaphor of phenomena of blue salmon’s seeking a settlement is also the emblem of artist’s experience of himself about the impact of cultural intersection and isolation between east and west.

4. So Kim (@SOKIMSTUDIO)

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So Kim (b. 1995) is South Korean born multi-disciplinary artist. She received a BFA in Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design. Kim’s works are presented with explosive, vibrant colors —seemingly playful and uplifting, but simultaneously reflects the solitude of self. 

 Kim portrays her inner-self in different forms of animals and creatures, along with her ‘best friend’, Uma.

 Kims' works focus on the inability of communication, ordinarily emotionally charged and internally driven. Used to visualize reality— the attempt of dialogue, the discordant relation between subject and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work. Again and again, the artist leaves us orphaned with a mix of conflicting feelings and thoughts. 

BY ANNA WINDSOR
ANNA IS A FINE ART ADVISOR AND ART EDITOR BASED IN NYC