Born in 1987 in South Korea, Heelim Hwang is a young emerging Korean artist. Hwang earned her BFA degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 and she is currently enrolled in the Master of Fine Art program at the same school. Some parts of Hwang’s works are extremely decorative, integrating patterns into space with saturated colors. Hwang attempts to create visual atmospheres that allow for complex and contradictory influences. She pulls from various sources of inspiration, including Indian miniature paintings, biological structures, children’s toys from thrift stores, and over-saturated neon lights of Seoul.
I locate my work through a triangulation of painting, collage, and cut-out. A variety of images and symbols in my paintings are drawn from the structures in the world, visual influences of my childhood (born in South Korea) and the shared culture. My paintings borrow, in various degrees, from kitsch, the iconic compositions and figure ground play. I attempt to create works that suggest a capacious view of painting incorporating styles and references from high and low, East and West through interweaving virtual and physical working method. My recent paintings (untitled1,2) are rigorously maintained and largely privileged over digital output. I am interested in looking at the interaction between the digital and the manual modes in treatment of image. I think a lot about a mess of images floating around on the internet and I am interested in pulling a type of physical response from something immaterial. My process gets initiated by making a preparatory work through cutting and pasting the archived printed matters on a piece of paper, to be scanned and Photoshopped until the distinction between the layers blur. After the digital editing, the result is blown up and printed on a primed canvas fabric. In yet, another stage of constructing a painting, the printed out image gets slightly retouched with hand. In my practice, the act of painting is similar to that of photo editing on a software program. My works suggest a way of perceiving the world in which we are living in a particular set of circumstances that seem really tied up with digital technology and the way it influences our modes of seeing.