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Hyun Ae Kang

The Voice of the Sacred

APRIL 29 - JUNE 10, 2023

Opening Reception | April 29, 2023, 3-6pm
Artist Talk | April 29, 2023, 4:30pm

This exhibition showcases paintings and sculptures by artist Hyun Ae Kang, a Dansaekhwa artist who is well recognized for her distinctive style.

Shatto Gallery is pleased to present The Voice of the Sacred, paintings and sculptures by artist Hyun Ae Kang, her first solo exhibition with the gallery. As a painter and sculptor, Kang is well recognized for her distinctive style, merging traditional Korean spirituality with Western abstract expressionism and connecting spiritual ideologies.


After immigrating to the United States, Kang adapted her artistic approach from subdued earth tones to polychromatic bright hues, as she had the chance to examine the works of color field artists and thus come to understand the significance and relevance of color. When she first moved to the US, American artists like Rothko, Motherwell, and Frankenthaler influenced her to bring a kaleidoscopic-like palette in her work, which was a fresh impetus to reinvent the art of Dansaekhwa. In contrast to the often monochrome and understated tones of Dansaekhwa, Hyun Ae Kang's work imbues maximum use of color, luminance, and texture. This indicates a break from the movement's traditional aesthetic. The Dansaekhwa movement is the 1950s Korean monochrome movement where repetition was represented through recurrent patterns and gestures. Through this divergence, Kang has developed a new, distinctive style that is exclusively hers. 


Through the use of impasto and divisionist color theory, Kang amplifies the luminosity and vibrancy of her paintings. Ridges created through impasto not only add more tactile texture, but also catch light, and by doing so, it creates an impression that the painting emanates light from within. By using vibrant colors, reverberating light, and visceral textures, Kang aims to express the power of the sublime, unlike minimalists who aim for clarity through reduction and elimination. 


To Hyun Ae Kang, creating is an enactment of her faith. Kang believes that art serves as an experience of the aesthetic dimension of the divine. The act of painting takes on the form of meditation, making a direct translation of seeking a sacred experience. The painstaking layers that Kang demonstrates as a procedure of inscriptions are represented through prayers that are coded into a self-made unique language, which ultimately etches a deeper spiritual layer into her creations.


Hyun Ae Kang (b. 1959, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea) is currently based in Brea, CA. Kang made a debut in the early 1990s with a solo exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. In the early stages of her artistic career, she primarily addressed themes of geometric modernism and organic abstraction. In 1993, with the desire to broaden her horizons, she took a hiatus from her advancing profession in Korea and immigrated to the United States. After immigrating to the US, her work shifted from sculptures to primarily paintings. Similar to her sculptures, her paintings revolve around the themes of nature and textures. Kang has had solo shows in numerous cities in the United States, as well as Italy, Russia, Monaco, and Mexico. Her work is in the permanent collections of Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, Suncheon Museum of Modern Art, Brea Museum and Historical Society, Art Museum of Seoul and many more. 


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