Spiritual Medicine, Mixed Media Work by Hee Sook Kim

Spiritual Medicine, a solo exhibition of mixed-media works by Hee Sook Kim, assistant professor and department chair of fine arts at Haverford College. An artist's talk and musical response from composer Christopher Shultis was held on April 14.

Hee Sook Kim also presented an artist’s talk and musical performance with composer/collaborator Christopher Shultis on Monday, April 14 in the Gallery. The two discussed their relationship in regard to Kim’s work “Encounter,” which incorporates projection, sound, assembled materials, and prints. Shultis also presented a musical response to the work.

In her artist’s statement, the Korean-born Kim describes her arrival in America to study art and her challenge to discover her true self: “Confusion, struggle, anxiety, anger, pain and agony, and identity have become infused into my work and have evolved to different stages.” After losing loved ones in New York City on 9/11, she began to ponder “life and death, self identity and meaning of being American, and, strangely, a healing.” A memory of her childhood came to her: her grandmother’s garden, “its magical power over a little girl, the hope of healing.”

Today, she says, she creates to “share experiences I’ve had in America filtered by the culture I grew up in.” What is the culture of the U.S., she asks, the culture of a country of immigrants? “It is the culture we’ve formed and transformed out of many others. I want to evoke this idea through my work. I want viewers to be both challenged and acknowledged by my work.”

She also deals with spirituality, a subject she says has been long disregarded by the contemporary art scene. “One of the important scientific discoveries is about medicinal plants and acupunctural treatments as alternatives to traditional medicine. My work holds the power of spirituality. I want people to experience it, or at best to be aware of it.”

Hee Sook Kim received her M.F.A and B.F.A. from Seoul National University and M.A. from New York University. She has received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, a Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation, an acquisition award from the State Foundation of Culture and Arts in Hilo, Hawaii, an Honorary Mention in the Encyclopedia of Living Artists, and a Merit Award from the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Her prints and paintings have earned her several stints as an artist-in-residence at the Ascona Centro Incontri Umani in Ascona, Switzerland, the Collaborative Press in Los Angeles, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in New Mexico, the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, Calif., Millay Colony in New York and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vt. In Japan, her prints and paintings appeared at exhibitions at the Osaka City Museum, the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum and the Doyusha Gallery. She has also exhibited at the Bronx Museum, the Drawing Center, Asian American Art Center, Bronx River Art Center, and the Queens Museum in New York, Lincoln Center in Colorado, and the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina. Additionally, her art has been shown at the National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul Art Cosmos Center in Korea, the Taipei City Museum of Art in Taiwan, and Le Centre d’Estudis d’Art Centemporari in Barcelona, Spain. Kim’s pieces are in many collections throughout the United States, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. She is currently represented by Chi Gallery in New York.

Christopher Shultis is a writer, composer and scholar and currently Regents Professor of Music at the University of New Mexico where he has taught since 1980. He received his bachelor’s degree in music from Michigan State University, his master’s in music from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. His book, Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the American Experimental Tradition was published by Northeastern University Press in 1998. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He was also a featured artist on KNME’s award-winning Colores program. Shultis’ activities as a scholar and creative artist continually draw upon his previous work as a solo percussionist and conductor of the highly acclaimed UNM Percussion Ensemble. His performance of Konrad Boehmer’s Schreeuw Van Deze Aarde for solo percussion (BV Haast, 1990) won an Edison award for best new music recording and various ensemble performances under his direction can be found on the Neuma, Wergo and 3D labels. Recipient of two Fulbright awards, he taught at the Technische Hochschule Aachen from 1993-94 and the Universität Heidelberg from 1999-2000. He is currently working on a book-length comparison of musical experimentalism in the United States and continental Europe titled The Dialectics of Experimentalism.