PRISKA C. JUSCHKA FINE ART
Philosophies of comedy, like philosophies of beauty, are forever doomed to failure. Most of them, however, agree on one point: that the interplay of disparate elements breeds surprise, and surprise, of course, is the catalyst for all comedy. In Flake, her first solo show at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, Joyce Kim snatches large-scale abstract painting from its familiar tragic mode and flings it deep into comedy.
Kim's unique methodology begins with chance. After pouring paint onto sheets of glass, she scrapes up the results: random, accidental shapes that will become the primary elements of her painting. That's when artistic intent takes over. On large canvases, most of which sport a perfectly monochromatic finish with no trace of either brush or knife, she collages each hardened paint spill, fixing it in perilous folds with the aid of more poured paint. As flatness rendered three-dimensional, these compositions qualify as sculpture as much as they do painting. Emerging from these abstract compositions, scraps of speech add a fourth dimension. With their offbeat inflections, these floating referents turn the somber business of abstraction into a game -- a silly word search tucked in a modern art textbook.
The humor in these paintings, however, serves up something more transgressive than belly laughs. Indeed, with this body of work Kim has managed a fresh and intelligent critique of that sacred apex of modern art, abstract expressionism. Seizing Jackson Pollock's seminal masculinist gesture, as well as the god-like scale of his paintings, she turns them out with the archetypal postmodern and feminine technique, collage. As dryly academic as the results of this exercise could have been, Kim's critique ultimately hinges on the strength of her paintings as paintings. On these terms, she succeeds magnificently.
The radicality of her technique supports an extreme anti-aesthetic, and armed with her sharp eye for composition, Kim choreographs her spilled effluents with gawky grace. They dangle from the canvas and curl up from puddled paint like melting cosmetics. They pin each other like tape and sag like draped fabric. Holding them all together is Kim's pitch-perfect color palette, a comic dialogue between corporeal browns, sugary pinks and tasteful blues and greens. With these nauseating confections, she proposes a major development in painting, a singular contribution to the discipline that combines brains, beauty, humor and strength.
Joyce Kim was born in Korea and received a Masters Degree from NYU in 1994. In 2001 her work was selected for a solo exhibition in Artists Space's special project room. She was the 2002 recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award for painting. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 to 6:00 PM or by appointment.