Joo Hyun Kang

Path II, Joo Hyun Kang, Mixed Medium on Canvas

Artist Statement

One day, in my atelier, I came across some webs sparkling under the sunlight. They were spider webs that I disposed of a few days before, without much thought. The small spider did not utter a word of discontent, and was diligently building new webs, to fulfill his purpose in life. It was as if the spider was trying to tell me with its movements that however small a creature is, it can still dream. Eventually, the small kingdom that the spider built looked splendidly beautiful. It was a moment of awakening that demonstrated to me that even the smallest creatures have their own purpose of existence.
I hope my work can show that such small organisms around us that can be easily dismissed still harbors life inside them, and that such creatures cherish small dreams that only they can dream. In addition to portraying the fact that the mere existence of life has value, I tried to carve into my works all I have experienced and all the environments that I have been in, to convey my emotions thoroughly.
When I see small plants, I tend to gain some sort of attachment to them, because they remind me of my life, where I tried to survive in a culture with a completely different racial and linguistic makeup from where I am originally from. It is like grafting, where a small branch attaches itself to a big tree through a painful process called life, and reconnects the water and nutrient sources to survive, and eventually blossoms into flowers and fruits.
Such understanding of life naturally soaked into my work. My previous and early works used bold and vivid colors and materials, as if the subjects were trying to get away from the struggle of pain. I used anthropomorphic elements to strongly and loudly portray humans who have to hide their inner weakness and frailty to survive within the molds of competitive contemporary society. However, my current works focus on a static portrayal and a calm gaze onto the beautiful environment made by the creator in which we - minute organisms – live on with the warmth of life.
Only when we accumulate the memories of the warmth of life present in all the insignificant landscapes, tree roots, and the small plants we pass by, another reason for existence is created. This is the process through which I paint, and how I harbor the love of the arts. This is why I do art.

Artist Timeline

I was born in Seoul, Korea. I completed my M.F.A. at the Pratt Institute in 1998.  My work has been exhibited at the Korea Culture Center, John Jay University, The Work Space, Artist Space, Exit Art, New York, Milan, and in various venues in Korea. Various paintings have been reviewed in Huffington Post, NY Arts Magazine, Art in Culture, and Symposium on Korean Contemporary Art.


1997 Master of Fine Arts in Painting, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
1996 Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


2016   Grafting To, Gallery d’Arte, New York, NY  
           Invisible Land, MK Gallery, Washington D.C, U.S.A
2015   Invisible Land, Nabi Museum, New Jersey
2013   Power Game, Riverside Gallery, New Jersey
2010   Power Game, Tenri Art and Culture Center, New York
2008  The Longing for Garden of Eden, John Jay College, New York
2006  Visible-Invisible II, St. Peter’s Church, NY
           The Longing for Garden of Eden, Gallery PICI, Seoul, Korea
2004   Visible-Invisible, Multimedia center, Palisade Park Library, NJ
2003   Encrustation and Entropy, John Jay Gallery, John Jay College, NY
2001    Order in Chaos, New Gallery, New York, NY
2000   Ontogenesis, Lindenberg Gallery, NY, NY
1997    The Sacred Earth, East Gallery, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
1996    Mark on the Earth, Steuben West Gallery, Pratt Institute, NY
1995    Earth And Nature, New Gallery, Brooklyn, NY


2016    Highlight show, Gallery d’Arte, New York, NY
2014    Asian Women Contemporary Art, Belskie Museum, New Jersey
2013    Gold hand, Asia Society Museum
2012    International Art contemporary, Los Angeles Convention Center, LA
2011    Ahl Foundation of Art, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York
           Art Miami, Miami, United States
           Asian Contemporary, Las Vegas, U.S.A
           Banns Project, New York NY
2010   The Road to Contemporary Art, InternationalArt Fair in Rome, Italy
2007   ACAF (Asian Contemporary Art Fair) New York.
            MI-ART2007, Fiera Milano International SPA, Milan, Italy
2005   Beyond Acculturation, Tenri Gallery, New York, NY
            Similarities and Difference, FGS Gallery, New Jersey
            Lose Approximately, Hun Gallery, New York, NY
2002   Pulse, The Puffin Room, New York, NY
            Leaps and Bounds, Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY
            Blobs, Wiggles and dots, Webs and crystillations, The Work Space, NY
            Blue Sky, Manhattan Borough President Center, New York, NY
            A room of Their Own, Korean Cultural Center, Washington, DC
            Ruffled Feathers, The Puffin Room, New York, NY
            Reaction, Exit Art, New York, NY
            Small Works, 80 Washington square East Gallery, New York, NY
2001    Asian Women’s Artist Group Show, Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY
            Absorption on the ground31, Space World Gallery, LIC, NY
2000   New Movement, Artist space, New York, NY
            Asian Women’s Artist Group show, Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY
            Skin Deep, Gallery Korea, Korea Culture Center, NY
1999    Confluence of Culture, Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Center, NY
            Ear Art, Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, New York, NY
            Asian Women’s Artists Group Show, Phoenix Gallery, New York, NY
1998    Changing and Transformation, Gallery Korea, Korea Cultural Center, NY
1997    Art of books, Pratt Institute Library, Brooklyn, NY
1996    The Annual Pratt MFA Juries Show, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NY
1995    WAC Pier Show IV, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY


2013    Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Residency Program, Vermont, U.S.A
2012    International Art Contemporary,-LAAS, Los Angeles Convention Center, LA
2011    Selected by ‘Asia Contemporary Art Miami’, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Miami
2009  Guest Artist Lecture, Parsons School Of Design, New York, NY
2007  Guest Artist Lecture, Parsons School Of Design, New York, NY


Da mi Min, Modern contemporary Artist Joo Hyun Kang- KoaLife, May 2013
BANNS Project, Korea SBS TV, Dec 17 2011
Wall Street Journal, New York House Of Day- BANNS Project, Dec 13 2011
Robert C. Mogan, Joo Hyun Kang’s Special Exhibition- Asia Art New, May Issue, 2010 p99
Jong Won Park, Artist ‘JooHyun Kang’- Central Daily News, Oct 26 2009
The Longing for Garden of Eden - Catalog Essay by Robert C. Mogan, John Jay University, 2008
Paradise Revised –Catalogby Lilly Wei, Essay, 2006
Kim Jin Hae, Beyond Acculturation- Korea Times, May 20 2005
Raul Zamudio, Energy and Entropy- NY ARTOctober 2003 p11
Thalia Vrachopoulos, Encrustation and Entropy- Catalog Essay, John Jay University, 2003
Joo Hyun Kang’s exhibition, Ontogenesis- Korea Times, April 2000