Jean JinHo Kim makes ambitious mix media sculptures and relief work that references nature and the human form by using industrial materials that she bends, welds and bathes in bright color. The sculptures are bold, dynamic and refreshing, transcending their original function as PVC tubes, downspouts and even old auto car parts. Jean Jinho Kim finds her material as discarded or left over parts from construction sites (starting from her own), as well as purchasing them at Home Depot or Loews home do-it-your-self stores. We were able to interview her in her expansive home studio via Zoom in Fairfax, VA that showcases her outdoor sculptures in a verdant landscape.

Jean Jinho Kim in her studio at Stable D.C.

Jean Jinho Kim received her BA from West Virginia University in Morgantown after arriving from Seoul, Korea where she was born and raised through high school. She received her MFA from American University in 2016. It was during graduate school Jean’s work began to transform from more relief mix media works that referenced the likes of Robert Rauschenberg – to the kind of monumental work we see today. Below is a recent piece titled “Standing Tall” which is included in an upcoming exhibition titled “Inside Outside, Upside Down” at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Standing Tall, 2021

One of my favorite pieces of hers is “Jump” from 2019 seen to the right in the photo gallery. The piece is made up of downspouts adorned with pink rubber rain boots on the bottom suggesting the possibility of movement. It’s so playful and joyful with the light green and pink combination evoking a 1980’s preppy aesthetic. But it always comes back to the material. Underneath the professionally painted coats of glossy auto paint lies the simplicity of a downspout. Humble in form and elevated to another level by Jean’s very tendentious sensibility that is unique and ingenious. Jean Jinho Kim’s work is tantalizing in her ability to combine color and form together to create such juicy works of art that are absolutely begging one to touch, caress and just stare in awe or just simply state ‘awesome’.

To learn more about her work and upcoming exhibitions go to her website: www.jeanjinhokim.com

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