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Links to Works Listed in Article

(in order of mention)

*****

[01]  A Picture... A Thousand Words [image 16 on the page]

[02]  Sketch Book series [images 14-16 on the page]

[03]  The Conversation With My Father [image 10 on the page]

[04]  The Conversation With My Mother (Regret/No Regret) [image 13 on the page]

[05]  Waiting Room [image 11 on the page]

[06]  It's A Girl!!

[07]  First Born Son Daughter [image 08 on the page]

[08]  Jungwhan (For The Girls)
[image 07 on the page]
 {detail} [image 04 on the page]


[09]  Feather W 
[image 03 on the page]

[10]  Personage P 
[image 03 on the page]

[11]  Personage Y 
[image 05 on the page]

[12]  R(Evolution) series
[images 5-11 on the page]

[13]  A Solitary Being
[image 04 on the page]

[14]  Celadon series
[image 01-02 on the page]

[15]  Untitled 
[image 12 on the page]



Art with an Impact: Kay Kang
        
 


Some artists create beautifully abstract works which invite the viewer to form his or her own interpretations, colored by individual worldview and personal past experiences.  Other artists favor a more direct approach, designing their projects around immediately recognizable forms that grab audiences’ attention and guide them toward a specific message.  The creations of San Francisco based Kay Kang alternate between these techniques, or perhaps combine the two.  While her concepts often involve abstract images, clear themes frequently emerge.   Two main motifs seem to permeate Kang’s body of work:  the experience of immigrants to foreign lands, especially regarding the mysteries and limitations of language; and the historic disenfranchisement of women in Asian cultures, in particular the undervaluing of female children in traditional Korean society.  Both are areas in which Kang herself has direct experience, having been born in Seoul and later immigrating to the United States.

Kang works in mixed media, including paint, three-dimensional panels with sand or wood blocks, calligraphy or pictograms on rice paper, and free-standing sculpture using wire, wood, chunks of charcoal, rope -- even hardware and vegetables.  This almost playful use of unexpected and varied materials is one factor that makes her projects so interesting.  Along with her penchant for natural materials, she often incorporates images from nature or bold geometric shapes into her works.  With her foundation of a Bachelor’s degree in audiovisual education from Korea’s Ewha Women’s University and a Master’s in printmaking from San Francisco State University, it’s little wonder that Kang is skilled in creating multimedia art in a variety of styles. 

In the vein of exploring language as both a communication tool and as a barrier in the immigrant experience, some of Kang’s works include A Picture...A Thousand Words [01] and her Sketch Book series [02], which each feature pictograms in colored paint or black ink, arranged in blocks on a larger canvas or panel.  She also creates art from actual words, for example using excerpts from personal letters or medical texts in The Conversation With My Father [03], The Conversation With My Mother (Regret/No Regret) [04], and Waiting Room [05]. In these works, traditional calligraphic characters were enlarged on rice paper and displayed on large panels.


Using her art to tell the story of women’s struggles in the traditional patriarchal Korean society, Kang has created bold pieces such as It’s A Girl!! [06], First Born Son Daughter [07], and Jungwhan (For The Girls) [08].  The former is an adaptation of the Korean tradition of hanging bright red chili peppers, symbolizing joy, from rope on the front door of the home when a new baby boy was born to the family.  When a girl was born only chunks of charcoal were hung, because female births were not traditionally celebrated in the same way.
It's A Girl
is an imposing sculpture using full-size door jams strung with rope and charcoal inscribed with girls’ names, with chili peppers scattered on the ground.  It seems to shout a joyous announcement to the world that Korean infant girls deserve the same recognition as their male counterparts.  First Born Son Daughter and Jungwhan (For The Girls) both honor the many Korean women of Kang’s generation whose parents gave them male names, after planning and hoping for sons rather than daughters.

Some of Kang’s more abstract work seems intended less to convey a specific message and more to create objects of universal beauty that speak to viewers from all cultures.  Often, these echoes themes from nature, for example Feather W
[09], Personage P [10], Personage Y [11], and the R(Evolution) series [12]. Other creations feature more geometric shapes or simple yet bold composition, such as A Solitary Being [13], the Celadon series [14], and Untitled [15]. Whichever theme she chooses to explore, Kay Kang’s uniquely varied art always makes an impact on her audience and leaves them hungering to see more. 





Public Collections (source:  Asian American Women Artists’ Association, aawaa.net)

Hannes and Linda Lamprecht, Tiburon, California

Camino Medical Center, Mountain View, California

Minyard & Morris LLP, Newport Beach, California

Oracle, Redwood City, California

SAP of America, Electronics, Germany, Foster City, California

Music West Records Company, San Rafael, California

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions (source:  aawaa.net)

2010 University of Stockton, Stockton, California

 

2008 Stanford Art Space at Stanford University, California

 

2007 Humboldt State University, Arcata, California

 

2005 Pigman Gallery, San Francisco, California

 

2000 SomArts Gallery, San Francisco, California “Waiting Room” – An Installation

 

1999 Korean American Museum, Los Angles, California

 

1998 Broward Community College, Pembroke Pines, Florida, “Jachui: Vestiges”

 

1994 San Francisco state University, San Francisco, California

 

Selected Group Exhibitions  (source:  aawaa.net)

2009 “Control”, SomArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, California

2008 “Ancient City, The Art of Urban Transformation,” Hayes Valley Market Street Gallery, San Francisco, California

2007 “Cheers Muses”, Chinese Cultural Center, San Francisco, California

2007 SomArts gallery, San Francisco, California, (S)kinship: African & Asian

2005 Seoul Museum of Arts, Seoul, Korea

2002 Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, California, “Shikishi”

2002 Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, California “Bay Area, Currents 2002”

2002 San Francisco Arts Commission China Town Commununity Gallery San Francisco, California, “Slowly Enter”

2001 Wolks Gallery, San Jose, California, “Book Nooks Show”,

2001 Euphrat Museum, De Anza College, Cupertino, California, “Passing”

2000 Creative Arts Center, Palo Alto, California

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