Learning Machine is excited to present new paintings by Duk Ju L. Kim!
Duk Ju L. Kim was born in Busan, South Korea and spent formative years of her childhood in Tehran, Iran, where her father moved the family for his job. Kim’s earliest memories are of eating tangerines in Korea, touring the I’m Caspian Sea and the remains of the Ottoman Empire.
The family moved to the United States. Kim chose an American name— “Linda” —and began attending a public school in rural Texas. She survived high school and made a beeline for art school. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She’s done post-graduate work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Her artwork has been honored with numerous awards, including an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship recognizing exceptional artists in the state.
Historical, geopolitical, and current events like the ones that shaped Kim’s early life and perception of the world have a presence in her paintings, too. Cities lie in ruins, layers of psychological and architectural history pile up. Human figures take on the structure of buildings, or appear amidst rubble.
Kim’s work is also deeply influenced by her adopted city. A resident of Chicago for over 20 years, the hard lines of the city’s skyscrapers, the rigid street grid system, the viaducts and lines of segregation between neighborhoods—all are ubiquitous in her work, along with exposed pipes, plumbing, and wires.
Despite her fascination with the physical landscape, Kim’s paintings are not devoid of life or humanity, and her work is imbued with a deep sense of humor and often dark irony. Ultimately, Kim’s principal preoccupation is with the human psyche and the complex way individuals interact with society and the psychological, social world they construct. Exploring dichotomies and incongruities, Kim frequently injects evidence of life onto an otherwise menacing environment. An elephant’s trunk emerges from a highrise window. Bold flowers dot a sky. Kim is fascinated with the messier remnants of humanity. Gravity and violence coexist with grace and beauty in Kim’s paintings. The effect is both exquisite and perverse.