Copy of Artists

Kim, Whi Boo

Texture is Painting, Form is Sculpture, and Process is Architecture



As a first-generation immigrant, first generation artist, and Northridge earthquake survivor, my Geo Series speaks of his personal journey with alienation, conflict, natural disaster, and a desire to eradicate a nomadic existence.

I, a Northridge resident for the last 25 years, have lived and raised my children in the same house in the earthquake torn Los Angeles region.  I experienced the Northridge earthquakes firsthand, and my work reflects my personal trauma, experience, and recovery with those events, as reflected in his Geo Series.

My early abstract work symbolized the beginning of my artistic pursuit in the United States, wherein I, in my own words, asks “Who am I?”  Unidentifiable masses of darkness, conflicts, anxieties, and alienation in, “a foreign land and culture” is reflected in my early work.  The Geo Series, which followed my early work, and which has been part of my work for the last 10 years, is motivated by the unidentifiable masses of my early work.

The Geo Series speaks of, and encompasses, various Northridge earthquake materials recovered from the natural disaster area by me.  The materials are incorporated in my work, to, among other things, convey my desire to end the nomadic life that has colored my existence.  I also state the materials used in the Geo Series consistently pursue architectural plane and dreams of recovering labor power.  My work also symbolizes the “aesthetics of process”, wherein I strive to “acquire plane through the joy of labor”.

The frames created for the Geo Series are also made from materials collected from several destroyed houses during the Northridge earthquakes.  Bricks, wood floors, pillars of houses, pieces of a 200-year-old tree, and a “cutting board minced with knives from a neighborhood sale” are among the items utilized by me to convey the “breaths of the unknown people…” affected by the earthquakes.  My utilization of various objects recovered from the earthquakes further speaks of his desire to recover labor power in connection with my personal carpentry of the same, in making the frames for the Geo Series.  In doing so, I also speak of my desire to emphasize the importance and purpose of the frame as “the function of a window” in “recognizing the painting space.”  I emphasize this relationship by making thicker frames, to influence architectural matter.  I also manipulate the outline to create the illusion that the extension of the painting “might not be subjugated to the image.”

The Geo Series also emphasizes the unique nature of wood and the labor process usually associated with this material.  I explain, the repeated acts of labor the materials are subjected to, such as grinding, connecting, mixing, and pasting, create, on the one hand, an abandonment of architectural materials, and on the other, the “recovering soul and spirit” of the same.  I emphasize this is “the process of force of life”, wherein one finds another aspect of oneself through abandonment of other parts of the self.  As such, I speak of the Geo Series as a screen of new land, a forum for meeting, a forum of time, and a new space where new cultural consciousness is born.

I further explain, as “line, form, and space meet, mix and bend, tension is relaxed, and gap penetrates deeply into the screen, and a number of strata cracks are bound to appear.”  This process is what creates the “archeological image” and “texture like fossil” in my work.  I also express my recurring thoughts of the pyramid, as “the safest geometrical structure” and my dreams of “unity of the earth and heaven.”  I also summarize of my work as “texture is painting, form is sculpture, and process is architecture” deeply resonates with my Geo Series because I believe it summarize “human life itself”.