The problem with most student work is too many ideas and too little editing. This is probably healthy. The purpose of education is to test, explore, and to fail grandly. This is how we learn. However, there are encounters with student work, especially at MICA, that transcend the usual expectations and limitations. This is the case with the work of KangHee Kim, on display currently in a solo show within MICA’s Pinkard Gallery, across from the library in the Bunting Center.
A glance into the small gallery presents a dazzling optical illusion. A few steps inside will tickle your retinas and delight your brain. Although we’ve all experienced Op-Art, Kim’s take is a Post-Modern version where a black and white checkered pattern is stretched laterally, materially, and conceptually. How many ways can a basic pattern be employed? How many ways can an artist explore this mind-numbingly simple conceit, that speaks to 1950’s kitchens and Vans shoes and ancient pottery and notebook paper doodles, without referencing cliche or getting bored? It is this laser-sharp development of one simple idea, and both its thorough execution and a surprisingly fresh state of constant reinvention, that makes this show so successful.
I have no idea what Oops, the title means. If it references the artist’s mistakes, I don’t see any.
O0ps: A Solo Exhibition by KangHee Kim at MICA’s Pinkard Gallery is up through May 19th.
* Author Cara Ober is the founding editor at Bmoreart.