Yujin Kang: MountainousPast
Yujin Kang’s UMOCA Artist-in-Residence capstone project Mountainous is an ambitious exhibition with three distinct bodies of work. Overall, the three individual projects examine our understanding of the landscape—particularly the mountain ranges found throughout Utah—and our place within such vast geological features. As a collective process, the paintings reveal themselves through the material characteristics of the enamel paint and techniques such as dripping, swirling, and scraping.
The draw of the Utah mountains and the landscape itself are the subject in her first body of work. As traditional landscapes, the enamel paint she uses that drip and pour when applied discourage the literal depiction of forms and reveal abstract components that refer to something the viewer deems recognizable.
Her paintings juxtapose the natural and built environments—where roads meet swimming pools, and mountains loom in the background. At times, dream-like and fantastic, such unsettling perspective shifts highlight where the natural and built environment both meet and compete for space.
A new resident of Utah, Kang’s second series investigates her visual fascination with mountains as a constant fixture in the Utah skyline. Ever-changing based on seasonal shifts, rain, and snowfall, this series conflates snowcapped mountains with “desserts such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream.” Said Kang, “As the weather warms, the strips of snow that have not melted yet make the mountains look like fatty marbled meats.”
Her paintings manifest the tension between nature and humans, reality and interpretation, and materiality and representation while simultaneously illustrating the potential for harmony.