Author/Artist Name

Shinhye KwonFollow



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Academic Level at Time of Creation


Date of Creation

Spring 4-27-2018

Artist Statement

Artist Statement

Shinhye Kwon

Painting is the most appropriate for expressing the artist 's thoughts and the feelings. While thinking about what I could do with painting, I thought that I wanted to share my view with others through my own painting expression and method. In order to share the world I am looking at, I have wondered what is different between me and the people who are here now and the readers who will look at my work. I wanted to share the two visions I see as an international student because I think that the identity of foreign students who know the emotions and cultures of both Korea and the United States is different from others.

I am a foreign student and I see my view in two ways. One is when I look at my country, Korea and another is when I am a foreigner in the United States. When I look at the same place, what I feel in each country is really different. For example, in case of a bathtub in the bathroom, in Korea, home where I live, bathtub is wide and long enough to spread my legs straight. Bright lighting and clean space help me bathe in a comfortable mood. On the contrary, I am an international student in the United States and cannot live in a perfect house. Since I am living in a dormitory, bathtub in the bathroom is narrow and there is no space to stretch my legs. I can only shower in an old bathroom with dark lighting.

Not only the place, but also things come to me differently according to each country. In the case of fish, for example, when I am in Korea, I can eat fresh fish everywhere because the three sides of Korea are made up of sea. But the situation in the US is different. The United States is very large and I do not live in a state where the sea is next to it, so when I want to eat fish, I have to go to Walmart and eat only frozen fish.

These situations are the people who have not experienced the two countries do not know forever. That's why I started to express the scenes I feel as an international student. Unlike photographs, painting is suitable for expressing my emotions in more detail, so I choose to paint.


Danielle Muzina, John Utgaard, Dale Leys, T. Michael Martin


How did I come up with ‘Passing Through’– I have been working on the power of minor things on the year 2017, and since 2018, there is also a small part that I focus, but slightly different. I have painted a little more on the things I have experienced going back and forth between the US and Korea, so I decided ‘Passing Through’ as title of my show. The title ‘Passing Through' feels like all of my works are united. My main concept is to catch and paint things that pass by in my life.

Works on 2017– My works on 2017 are mainly based on the power of trivial. In everyday life, people are passing over small things without realizing it. But I have a habit of observing these trivial parts. And those little things give me pleasure, sometimes fun, or even sorrow. In order to share these parts with others, I started capturing those scenes and paint them on canvas. I thought that if I paint, I will be able to concentrate people's attention because it is a bit more sophisticated than the one I took with photo.

Soft Depressions– It is the painting which I painted when the nude model came in the first class time. If the naked person is sitting on a chair, people will pay attention to the person. But I noticed the shape of the cushion when the chair pressed the cushion. So I painted the angle and the composition from bottom to top. The reason I made the title ‘soft depressions’ was that when I finished the work, the color I used was slightly depressed and the texture of the cushion seemed soft.

Small Wonders (1) – The first thing I thought about minor things was the eyelashes attached to the face. I wondered what would happen if the eyelash, which occupied a very small part of the entire face, fell off and attached to the face. It is a small object, but it is very ticklish. If one of the small eyelash is tickled and focuses the entire nerve, it is the power of the little thing.

Small Wonders (2)– I worked on the same topic as before. It is noted that they are different in the facial expression depending on where the eyelash is located. I think that the small part which is eyelash makes the face look different is another little power.

Light Duality– The background of this painting is the college court where I live. It was daytime, and the sunlight leaking through the window blinds contrasted with an artificial fluorescent lamp in the room made me impressed, so I decided to paint. Fluorescent lamps have only one shape and are not very colorful, but sunlight differs in shape and color when the blinds are lifted. The shape of the sunshine coming out through the blinds is also trivial, but it has come to me greatly.

Lonesome Pole– I cannot forget the loneliness of seeing the old stickers attached to the pole at the splendor of the city. Even though the city gets dark in the late evening, it is as bright as daylight and brilliant because of the lighting, but the sticker marks that are attached to a pole seemed to be in contrast. The power of trivial things seems to exert strength in positive moments, but also in negative moments.

At the Café– Everyone has a color. Because of human skin, because of hair, or clothes, it has colorful color. But when I took a picture through the camera, people were all black. Because of the sunlight shining from outside the window, the pictures were taken in backlight and the colors disappeared. To give a little meaning to this painting, I feel like when you see others as a fragment, with prejudice, you can only see dark black color, but If you open your mind a little more and try to know it, it actually feels colorful.

Silence– I painted an abandoned room in Woods Hall. The scenery outside the window is endlessly beautiful. The color of the vine leaf is colorful and the sunlight is intense. But outside, nobody knows the inside of the Woods Hall. The figure in the Woods Hall looks lonely and miserable. An abandoned desk is there, and only a sense of dimness is maintained. It was a room that I might have missed, but the strong contrast of the situation took my heart away.

Works on 2018– I had many thoughts during my winter vacation in Korea in 2017. Since I am an international student and I go back and forth between Korea and the United States, what if I focus on difference between Korea and the United States? I am a foreign student and I see my view in two ways. One is when I look at my country, Korea and another is when I am a foreigner in the United States. When I look at the same place, what I feel in each country is really different. So I began to paint those small details.

Fish Tank (Seoul)– When I went to Korea, I wanted to eat a lot of fresh fish, so I went to the fish market. Living in the city made it easy to get fresh fish. I changed the brush touch to express the texture of the fish a little more and used cool colors to emphasize that the fish are fresh.

Fish Tank (Kentucky)– In contrast to the fish in Korea that I painted in front, I could not enjoy fresh fish in Kentucky where I live. As opposed to Seoul, the largest city in Korea, Kentucky was only rural, so there was only frozen fish. I kept a warm color to look as different as possible, and I also painted an English letter for better recognition.

Bath (Seoul)– When I was living in Korea, I lived in a big house. Thanks to that, I was able to stretch my legs and soak myself in the water while I was taking a bath. The clean bathroom made my mood more refreshing, so I completed the painting using cool colors.

Bath (Kentucky)– Currently I live in a school-provided apartment. I cannot live in a good house because I am an international student. I have to take this life because I am not making money. The bath tub in my house is too narrow to bend my legs. The depth is not deep enough to get a bath water. Moreover, because it is an old house, even though I clean it, it molds soon. Because these situations made me feel painful, I used it as a color worm, and I painted dirtier brush expression.

A Heart from my Mom/ Heartfelt– When the snow was piled up in the winter, my mom made a heart by continuing each footprint. After she made all the heart, she said, "I love you, Shinhye." She looked so adorable that she should write it down with a picture, so she took pictures of her walking and footprints. I thought that I need to draw and paint this scene because it was a minor footprint in everyday life, but it can reach a significant meaning to someone. So I took pictures of my mother walking, making footprints and painted.

Leftovers– It is after the food is finished at the restaurant. I tried to clean up the dishes, but I was surprised to see that the pretty flowers were made by the tomatoes and spinach. It was a piece of food I ate and left, they came together and created another object which was the power of small things.

Postcard of my BFA show– I was worried about what to set as the main picture. My first show was titled 'the power of trivial', so I chose it as a picture that clearly shows the power of the smallness that suits it. That was 'leftovers'.

My Future Goals– I did not paint for the graduation exhibition. I will find lots of trivial parts while I live, I want to paint every time when I find small things. I want to create my own brush-touch style by painting consistently. My goal is to go to graduate school. After graduating from graduate school, the final goal is to become a professor of art by learning more professionally.

A different view of the composition, 2017, oil on canvas.

Artifact attract natural, 2017, oil on canvas.

Contrast with the splendor in the city, 2017, oil on canvas.

Series of irritation, 2017, oil on canvas.

Still Life Painting, 2016, oil on canvas, 25x30.

Nature, 2016, oil on canvas, 29x35.

Still life painting, 2016, oil on canvas, 20x32.

People in Café, oil on wood, 2017

A baby in a bath, oil on canvas, 2017

Sunlight and Artificial light, oil on canvas, 2017

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Shinhye Kwon:



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