Yi Gallery presents a two-person exhibition by Debra Ramsay and GJ Kimsunken at the gallery’s new space, located in Brooklyn’s Industry City.
Where We Meet Ourselves features paintings and works on paper that highlight the visual conversations between the two artists and their shared exploration of creating transcendent space through form and coloration. Both artists adopt a minimalist approach to painting, choosing to work with reduced color palettes and materials while engaging with their chosen medium with elegance and restraint. Grounded and airy, with apparent simplicity and a contradictory vibrance of stillness and motion, these subtle and luminous compositions solicit the viewer’s long and close looking. At times, Ramsay and Kimsunken produce visually similar paintings, yet they are fundamentally different. The works are deeply rooted in their respective traditions and hold distinct reflections and meditations to their core.
Ramsay’s new series continues her focus on the beauty and enigma of light and color. Where I Find Myself refers to her experience during quarantine, both physically and spiritually. “A large part of art-making for me is engagement with my materials and location,” Ramsay states, “I think of these paintings as light cells. A cell, in biology, is the basic membrane-bound unit that contains the fundamental molecules of life and of which all living things are composed. My light cells gently elevate ambient light, focusing on light’s transitory interaction with the color fields, affecting the appearance of the artwork. Perhaps the work leads you to a place of non-thought; the impermanent changes in light can be noticed or not.” As homage to impermanence, she makes work that shifts in appearance due to changes in light and the viewers’ location relative to the artwork. During the pandemic, the paintings were informed by views out her studio window, which overlooks the East River in New York City. The sky can register a vast range of hues. Ramsay focused on the arc of colors in the sky, other than blue, and how they changed during a day. For two weeks, particles from fires on the West Coast also influenced the colors. Ramsay reproduced these observed colors in paint with a program designed for the specific artist paints she used. The paintings are without an intended narrative. Using translucent painting supports allows light to pass through the paint, creating an interaction with the changing light in the room, making the artwork dynamic, reminding us life is constantly changing.
In Kimsunken’s work, he asks questions about our human existence: who we are, why we are and what we are for. Each painting contains a simplified human figure, achieved by scraping away paint on the canvas. To Kimsunken, it is the most direct way of mark-making. This method is very much related to the core theme of his work - arousing the human condition - leading to the question of human salvation. Inspired by the beauty and imperfection of the Korean Moon Jar, Kimsunken’s agonizingly simple gestures result in compositions that are lean and austere, yet immersive and generous in nature. Kimsunken’s intense focus on direct mark-making is particularly evident in his crayon on paper work Untitled (2021), where a single stroke evokes the elegance of the Asian traditional calligraphy.
Debra Ramsay is an abstract artist working in the disciplines of painting, drawing and installation. She maintains a full-time studio practice in New York City. For the past three decades, Ramsay has exhibited her work internationally, including in Denmark, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
GJ Kimsunken was born in South Korea and studied in Australia and the US. Kimsunken currently lives and works in New Jersey. His work was featured in gallery and institutional exhibitions around the world.
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