Becky S. Kim & Heidi Nam
Korean-born artists Becky S. Kim and Heidi Nam both respond to landscapes, but in very different ways. Kim’s “Dreamscapes” depict the artist’s reveries, not specific places. Nam’s “Netted” is inspired by urban patterns yet ventures into abstraction.
Nam’s Art League Gallery show began with a return trip to Korea, where she saw that severe contemporary architecture had largely displaced the city she remembered. Her mixed-media and collage pieces are based in part on these new buildings; some pictures are high-rise panoramas that could represent Manhattan, Seoul or many other boomtowns. The most striking, however, are less literal. The shimmering “Soaked in Blue” evokes, all at once, Bauhaus-style structures, right-angled street grids and the geometries that underlie them.
There’s no urban bustle to Kim’s Foundry Gallery show, whose thickly painted oils portray open country that might be Italy, Korea or someplace unreal. The artist also does graceful portraits, and sometimes places a lone female figure amid the scenery. There’s a hint of Modigliani to Kim’s elongated necks and tree trunks, although not to her palette, which emphasizes grays and greens.
This color scheme suggests a bond between the forest and the person in it. In “Walking With Wonder,” the head and shoulders of an apparently nude woman are framed by a sylvan path, and her thick black hair resembles a tree’s leafy crown. The most impressionistic picture, “Shower in the Field,” simulates rain’s power to blur vision and boundaries. The painting’s wispiness very nearly allows the viewer to enter Kim’s dreamscape.
Becky S. Kim: Dreamscapes and Heidi Nam: Netted: Morphological State of Our Urban Space On view through April 2 at, respectively, at Foundry Gallery, 2118 Eighth St. NW. 202-232-0203.
foundrygallery.org, and the Art League Gallery, Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. 703-683-1780. theartleague.org.