Myeongsoo Kim

Desert Ocean
January 27 - April 9, 2022


Image: Myeongsoo Kim, Desolate Landscape_04, 2022. Clear varnished archival
cut-out pigment print, 40 x 60” (framed). Courtesy the artist.


Opening Reception: Thursday, January 27, 2022, 4:30-7:30p

The Yeh Art Gallery, St. John’s University is pleased to announce Myeongsoo Kim: Desert Ocean, a solo exhibition by Korean-born, Brooklyn-based artist Myeongsoo Kim. Presenting newly commissioned work, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s longstanding engagement with natural landscapes — a recurring motif throughout Kim’s practice. Through photographic images, found objects, and sculpture, the exhibition meditates on memory, history, and the material residues of time’s passage. Often informed by his personal travels through various geographies, from Utah’s desert to the Bolivian Andes, the artist’s practice articulates actual places with expressions of metaphysical encounters, revealing a profound sensitivity to deep psychological states like dreaming, distance, and loss.

Occupying the center of the room is the sculptural installation Untitled (Burnt) (2022). Presented within a display case, the work functions as an archeological tableau, featuring cast branches, postcards, and other objects that the artist gathered during his travels. Sourced from townships and terrains that the artist describes as often left in a state of abandonment or desolation, these objects are surrounded by sculpted petrified branches that the artist cast from plaster, soaked, dyed, and painted. Serving as a metaphor for the states of entropy and energy transference, the work exemplifies the artist’s approach towards sculptural assemblage as a way of “producing fantasies and narratives” through the compilation of both objects and images. Resting against the wall, the sculpture Landscape in the night sky (2020) becomes a triangular, nocturnal slice of the land, inlaid with copper, brass, stainless steel, and aluminum “stars.”

Also on view is a series of photographic works, entitled Desolate Landscape. Appearing as unified landscape images, the works are created from various close-up images that the artist captured of mountainous terrain. Kim’s assembled landscapes oscillate between the ambiguous and abstract, revealing the glitches of their making, and allowing the photographic image to expand the limits of representation. The works similarly operate as a metaphorical space for the projection of speculative narratives open to interpretation. Presented alongside Untitled (Burnt), the works in the exhibition function collectively as an index of an autonomous, imagined landscape in and of itself, untethered to any fixed time or place. 

Presented concurrently with the exhibition Lain Singh Bangdel: Moon over Kathmandu, Kim’s solo exhibition extends an ongoing dialogue within the galleries about the art historical tradition of landscape, past and present. Together, the exhibitions explore the enduring significance of landscape and how it is represented through different mediums and across times.

Desert Ocean is curated by Owen Duffy, with the editorial support of Junni Chen.

About the artist
Myeongsoo Kim (born 1980, Korea) received his BFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009, and his MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2011. Most recently, he participated in the 2019 BRIC Biennial at BRIC in Brooklyn, NY, and the Brave New World Photo Festival at the Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea. His work has been exhibited across the United States, including at Sculpture Center in New York, Still House in Brooklyn, Bodega in Philadelphia, and Jack Chiles in New York. Most recently, Kim’s work was shown in a solo show at CUE Art Foundation, Mother-Land (2020), and also a two-person show, Classical Mechanics, at Below Grand NYC (2021).

This exhibition is generously supported by an anonymous donor and the Rev. Al Shands.