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"Kim Jongku: Steel Powder Painting and Landscape" opens at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Kim Jongku, Iron Powder Painting, 2013.

BOULDER, CO.- From February 14-March 30, BMoCA at Macky presents Steel Powder Painting and Landscape, an exhibition of 6 large-scale steel-powder paintings by Seoul-based artist Kim Jongku. The artist created these works during a two-month visiting artist residency at the University of Colorado Boulder. BMoCA at Macky is a collaboration between Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and Macky Auditorium Concert Hall at the University of Colorado Boulder. BMoCA curates this series of exhibitions as an extension to its rotating exhibition schedule.

Trained as a sculptor, Kim has worked primarily with steel powder on raw canvas since the late 1990s. By laboriously grinding down iron rods, Kim reduces the solid iron into filings, turning a strong, cold material into a soft and delicate one. He brushes the powder onto the canvas with a stream-of-consciousness poetic approach using calligraphic forms. He uses polymer glue to bind the steel powder to the canvas. Created horizontally, the canvases are then raised vertically, allowing gravity to pull any loose powder downward. The words written in Korean are not read left-to-right or right-to-left, but instead flow in a non-linear path. It is not important that we understand each word because the meaning of the poem surrenders to the meaning expressed by the whole painting. They are poetic landscapes. In his de-materialization of steel, a material source of modern warfare and commercialism, Kim is also representing a humbling of humankind’s perpetual need for progress.

Kim’s paintings are influenced by the Colorado landscape. The variations of natural hues in Kim’s work, ranging from black to rust to gold, reveal the iron powder in different states of oxidations. The work responds to its environment, changing over time and, in this case, taking on a Colorado patina. Likewise, the poems within the paintings are Kim’s response to his immediate state of mind and surroundings—his oxidation to the Colorado environment.

Kim Jongku was born in Choong Nam, South Korea in 1963. He graduated with a B.F.A. from Seoul National University in 1993 and an M.F.A from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 1996. Kim has exhibited widely nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at One and J. Gallery in Seoul, Korea in 2011; Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas in 2010; and National Arts Studio Gallery Seoul in 2004. In 2002 and 2003 his work was included in two exhibitions at PS 1. Contemporary Art Center in New York. Kim currently lives and works in Seoul, South Korea and is Associate Professor for the Department of Sculpture at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul.

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