new-york

Byron Kim

Max Protetch

The fascination of Byron Kim’s work has always been the way it held its two contrary tendencies, sensualism and conceptualism, in unresolved tension. Feeling has always been packaged in an idea—more specifically, in a voguish topos like the body (Kim’s early “Belly” paintings) or racial and cultural identity (his monochrome “portraits” of skin tones and the surfaces of Korean celadon pottery, respectively). But feeling and concept never quite merged, and this has given Kim’s paintings a sense of constriction, as if sentiment were prematurely cutting off cognition, ideation unduly restraining emotion. Even the modest scale of most of Kim’s efforts seemed like an effect of this constraint, as though he were limiting his art to the scale of an idea rather than risk anything as boundless as imagination or as nebulous as thought. More recently he’s shown some extremely long horizontal paintings

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