I have seen much strife in America and other parts of the world from civil unrest to domestic violence. This had made me contemplate what life was about. It was the perfect balance of good and evil and the acceptance of both. However, through this, I found myself craving for what I wanted most: peace and harmony.
My second show served as a revelation to my life and rekindled this burnt out passion. "Overcome" was a series that captured the abstract essence of trees that represented triumph against all hardships faced throughout life. Like an aged individual who had stood against the test of time, a tree is often twisted and bent by the elements in a long life. And as time passes, a person goes through its course of changes as well.
In my 2007 exhibition, I portrayed the strength of overcoming through trees. In the year of 2009, the aim for my new series is similar to my past works, enclosing the relationship and characteristics of human beings and trees.
Between 2010 and 2013, my work, "Longing" consisted of a new idea and method of painting. I was pulled in by the effects that the monoprint produced. The unpredictable colors that came to life were beyond my own imagination. I spent sleepless nights working on painting these sea creatures. The fluidity of their movements are beautiful and they seem to have no boundaries. This, to me, represents the lightness, playfulness, and freedom in life that many long for.
In 2015, I decided to revisit the idea of "Overcome" this last year. The life of a tree can represent the struggles and strength of human beings. As a tree moves through its different phases of life, it must face many adversities. However, as its foundation develops and its branches strengthen, the tree builds itself to stand with great stability. Similar to that of a tree, we must pass through stages and experience situations in our lives that may bring us hardships and pain. However, the strength and perseverance of humans rebuild us into forces that can adapt to any situation and overcome any obstacle that may be put in our way.
One day, I found myself thinking of how people are always searching or seeking for something in life."Seeking" represents our journey and our pursuit of searching for more. The need to change, the discovery of a new path in life, or rebuilding from pain drives us to find happiness. It is here where the self-discovery process takes place and the need for satisfaction through finding more is explored. Using a palette of different colors, i have symbolized people through figurative shapes and forms to represent the never-ending journey of seeking that we long for.
Young Il Kang 2017