It’s a week before her first solo exhibition, My Revelstoke: Four Season’s Beauty, and Chloe Kim’s home is filled with artwork. She’s even taking up space in her children’s playroom – although that, in part, has to do with convenience. The house is quiet at the moment though, as both of Kim’s children are attending school this year.
The ability to focus on her work in uninterrupted quiet is something Kim has had to get used to.
“It took time getting used to the quiet,” Kim tells me. “It feels like I can work more this year.”
In her studio, Kim points to two winter scenes painted on paper so delicate I’m reminded of gently falling snowflakes. In completing the winter pieces, Kim states she was inspired by skiers, particularly heli-skiers. The delicate swooping figures painted in black ink are incorporated in her mountain scenery, in some cases almost blending into the landscape.
Kim describes the paper she uses as “very sensitive, like rice paper, only thinner.”
In fact, the paper is called Jang-ji in Korean, and is made from tree pulp. Trained in art while she still lived in Seoul, Kim’s technique comes from a traditional form used in ancient Korea.
Kim then shows me the pieces she has painted of spring and summer. Bold reds, purples, blues and greens proudly stand out on the page. The canvas for these pieces is called Han-ji and is comprised of laminating three layers of thin paper. This gives the canvas an added strength, allowing Kim to add more colour and for the pigment to sink in more deeply.
She doesn’t restrict herself to painting on the front of the canvas. In her studio she shows me how, by painting rich pigments on the back of the thin paper she works on, the colour is able to show through on the other side.
In the children’s playroom Kim shows me the black ink she uses in her work – she mixes a bit of plain water in and grinds it against the wood.
“Before I start to paint this process calms me down and gets me ready to paint,” she says.
I ask Kim if her artwork has changed since moving to Canada.
“Yes,” she tells me. “I can feel it, I’m getting to use more colours, because Revelstoke is quite colourful in summer. But I miss the way I used to use black ink and thinner paper.”
My Revelstoke: Four Season’s Beauty runs from Oct. 12 – Nov. 2 in the main gallery of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. There will be an exhibition opening Oct. 12 from 6-9 p.m. at the centre.