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© Jimin Chae 2010-2017

Statement for 'Art 14 London' _ Emma Son(Director) of Gallery EM

For the Emerge Section of Art14London, Gallery EM will feature a solo exhibition of the artist Jimin Chae that highlights his new series of paintings titled Installation. Although he is still in the early stages of his artistic career, over the past few years Chae has developed a unique artistic language that he communicates through his paintings. Using formal, realist painting techniques combined with hints of expressionistic brushstrokes, Chae beautifully recreates static moments that he discovers in his own world. Having always been drawn to peaceful settings, Chae carefully observes these moments of calm to select scenes that have narratives of their own. Chae then collages these chosen scenes on a canvas, adding a new dimension to compositions. Chae’s subtle yet odd mix of images conflated on each canvas allow viewers to see the individuality of each layer of paint, a skill that Chae endeavors to achieve in all of his oeuvres. As a result of this constant pursuit to provide new perspectives, Chae pays great attention to the creation process of his paintings.

In contrast to his earlier works that emphasized result-oriented processes, Chae’s has gravitated towards a more original method focusing on the process rather than the final product. This is evident in his work Installation, a word that encompasses the process and the possibilities of Chae’s works. The importance placed on the decision during an ‘installation’ can determine the success or failure of a work. With that in mind, Chae applies the moderate concept of ‘installation’ to the process of placing images onto a canvas. This approach allows him to further divide the canvas into even more detailed fragments. Chae then devotes all of his energy to the detail of each and every brushstroke from the moment the oil paint touches the canvas surface until the moment when all the touches work together to become an image. Chae constructs layers with his brushstrokes, lower layers acting as formative foundations for the upper layers resulting in a layered painting. By utilizing this new method, Chae has undergone a paradigm shift in how he sees paintings. While Chae’s new approach focuses on the process, he does not ignore the concluding step, ‘completion’. However, Chae hopes that the layers within his finished works show their individuality and at the same time exhibit the effort of the process.

At the very center of Chae’s work lies a narrative derived from daily life, the motif to his work. At first glance, viewers see the beautifully saturated color planes with a person or persons gazing upon different items or into another space, creating a sense of curiosity. This first impression gives way to an odd sense of surreal emotions and discomfort. The carefully positioned geometrical lines and the people appear well balanced at first, but gradually we realize that the images within one framework are out of place, a trick that the artist perhaps had in mind when painting each work. Behind the calmness and beauty of Chae’s subtle environments, the viewer connects with the surrealistic situation creating a hint of anxiety from being out of one’s comfort zone. With Chae’s series of psychological landscapes, he appears to unravel the mysteries underlying the meanings of ‘expression’ beyond a simple ‘representation.’

Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1983, Jimin Chae received his BFA from Seoul National University, and is currently working towards a MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London. He had a two-person show at Gallery EM in 2011 (Seoul) and has been included in numerous group shows at a variety of museums and galleries, including KIC Art Center in 2011 (Shanghai), X-Power Gallery in 2011 (Taipei), and Yi-Hyung Art Center in 2009 (Seoul). His work can also be found in popular collections such as Hyundai Capital in China.

                                                  28th February - 2nd March 2014 @ Olympia Grand, London