Blank Space is pleased to present The Series, an exhibition of paintings by the artists Heejo Kim and Matthew Langley. Kim and Langley are both artists dedicated to working with a single subject matter over a period of years. Focusing on one subject is a powerful means for them to discover all the possibilities in their work and in themselves. This intense concentration has allowed both artists to develop remarkable skill, extraordinary discipline and insight into life.
Heejo Kim’s Dolly paintings feature Dolly, the sheep, known around the world as the first mammal ever to be cloned. Dolly is the lens through which Kim examines art history, her individuality and broader existential questions. The paintings include an impressionist Dolly, an expressionist Dolly, a Pop Dolly and so on – a herd of clones retracing the history of art. Kim gravitates towards particular artists and art movements depending on where she is in life, always appropriating their styles with a combination of sincerity and satire.
Heejo Kim has always been fond of sheep. She spent a good portion of her adolescence eating, talking and running with sheep in New Zealand, a country of never-ending beauty. Painting Dolly allows Kim to reflect on her life and on the nature of beauty. She creates each Dolly painting from scratch and doesn’t use templates or printmaking devices. She thinks of the Dolly clones as discoveries from her “art laboratory” and attempts to give each “clone” a personality. Kim’s keen sense of color, skilled handling of oil paint, and dedication to achieving beauty make each painting a joy to look at.
Matthew Langley’s paintings stem from a series of divergent strategies. One is of building, and the other is of reducing. The paintings depict grids, each square of each grid almost its own painting within the larger whole. Looking closely at the work reveals layers of under-painting, a variety of textures, and numerous variations within the same hue. From afar, each painting reads as a single structure, powerful in its composition. Langley is dedicated to making clear, concise and rational images that still remain open for interpretation and contemplation. The artworks are not linear narratives, and the lack of representational imagery allows the element of time to be stretched or compressed. In this way the artwork reveals itself slowly and calmly, thus accommodating the presence of the viewer.
Titles are critical to Langley’s work. He intends for them to trigger a series of associations and ideas in the viewer’s mind. He avoids using an ordered approach (e.g., number 1, number 2) or a literal approach to titling his work. Instead his titles are poetic, and are meant to open the viewer to a thought process that may influence how he or she understands the paintings.
Heejo Kim's recent solo exhibitions include Hello Dolly! at Galleria gli Eroici Furori in Milan, Italy. She has also exhibited widely in Korea and New York. Kim holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Matthew Langley's recent solo exhibitions include Simple, Difficult at the University of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland. His work is also included in numerous collections, including those of Ernst and Young and the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities. He holds a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC.