In Pieces that Seem to Move, a Texas ​Artist Weaves a Colorful Story — and Finds Her 'Voice'

A detail of a thread-and-acrylic on wood panel piece by Bumin Kim

THIS WEEK IS your final chance to see Voice of Color, an unusual and gorgeous exhibit of what can be described as thread-on-panel paintings by Korean-born, Texas-based artist Bumin Kim. The show is on view at Anya Tish Gallery.

While the word “landscape” is often used as a visual descriptive of Kim’s work (many of her paintings include that very word in the title), several paintings in Voice of Color were inspired by sound, and Kim’s growing passion for classical music. She names Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes as source of inspiration for her piece “Forgotten Melodies #1,” and reveals hearing the Liszt for the first time was transformative. “It was a really new experience,” says Kim. “I could imagine one’s entire life story just listening to it.”

To create her unique paintings, Kim stretches and fastens colored, polyester threads in successive, tightly arranged vertical lines, producing a resonating field of gradating colors and emerging shapes that seem to morph and transform, depending on where the viewer decides to stand and look. The resulting patterns in her “Forgotten Melodies” series are visualizations of melody, and for her, are as emotionally charged as the music that inspired them. Like many artists, Kim listens to music when she’s working, but prefers to curate what she hears. “If I want to work with certain emotions, then I make my own playlist,” laughs Bumin. “And then I listen to that only, because it affects me while I’m working.”

Kim came to the U.S. in 2012, and now lives and works as a full-time artist in Dallas. When she feels lonely, given the distance in miles between her mother and sister who live in Korea, Kim finds consolation in poetry, music and visual art. She names Edward Hopper’s painting “Rooms By The Sea,” a surreal depiction of light pouring into two empty rooms of a house that appears to be floating on the ocean, as a work which reflects her own feelings of “the loneliness and isolation,” but also provides a sense of calm and beauty. “I want to make work that can give consolation to my viewers as well,” says Kim.

Voice of Color closes Oct. 8.

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