Monday, April 11, 2011

"Diane Kim: Growing with Scars"

by Jennifer Wiegel

"Diane Kim: Growing with Scars"
Thomas Jefferson School, Visual Arts Gallery, St. Louis, MO
April 8, 2011

"Growing with Scars" is the first time Thomas Jefferson School has featured work by a current student in an individual exhibition, and this fact really bespeaks the strength of Diane Kim’s work. The show features ten artworks that beautifully fuse technical ability and painterly playfulness. Masterful pen and pencil figurative drawings play off of vibrantly colored abstract paintings. Some pieces even incorporate alternative & experimental media such as white-out and circle stickers. (One such piece, Dancing Dog, is exquisitely rendered on a disassembled cardboard box.)

Diane Kim’s artist’s statement is a testament to her own growth and transformation, a journey of discovery and self-acceptance through art. She chronicles how an accident as a toddler had shaped her life by leaving her permanently scarred. Kim would draw on her scars, which she notes “were always with me, listened to my stories, and gave me strength.” Photographs of such drawings are included alongside her artist’s statement, which elaborates: “Transforming my scars into pieces of art allowed me to imagine myself, and by extension, my surroundings, in new and beautiful ways… I learned how to bring out the positive in a dismal situation, how to create beauty from something ugly.”

Although some of Diane Kim’s artworks focus on anticipated personal themes such as family life and school experience, as seen in Sisters Sharing and Stressful Tests, her sincere approach to these subjects breathes life into them, encouraging the viewer to hearken to his/her own life experiences. These artworks explore relationships, connecting the personal with the universal through shared experiences & emotions, hardships & triumphs, joys & sorrows... It is this ability to connect the personal with the universal, along with Kim’s attention to detail, playful experimentation and genuine vision, that draws the viewer in and encourages him/her to stay, to absorb as much as possible and to perhaps even be transformed.
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The Visual Arts Gallery at Thomas Jefferson School is located at 4100 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sappington, MO. 314/843-4151.
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St. Louis-based multi-media artist Jennifer Weigel is a member of Art Saint Louis. Her work can currently be seen in two St. Louis area exhibits: “Those Who Dare to Dream,” Framations Art Gallery, St. Charles, MO (through April 21), and "Art: Agent for Change," a St. Louis Women's Caucus for Art exhibit presented at GYA Community Gallery & Fine Crafts, St. Louis, MO (through April 30).