• Artist Bio

    My abstract expressionism reflects my ongoing attempts to manifest the complex feelings and ever-changing bodily sensations that I experience as part of my recovery from multiple traumas. My work integrates diverse perspectives from my contemplative practice and my healing journey. I search for ways to navigate profound emotions through deep and mindful observation, culminating in unique compositions of richly colored and vibrant abstract images. My paintings fill large canvases and explore gestures, lines, shapes, and colors, evoking a feeling of both vulnerability and transcendence.

     

    I am a self-taught artist born in Korea and now living in Oakland, California. I’m proud to be part of its vibrant and diverse artist community. I have shown my work to the Oakland community at Marica restaurant and at the Marriot Oakland City Center. Across the Bay Area, my work has been shown at numerous exhibitions including The Women's Building, Presidio Landmark, One7 Gallery, Public Glass, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Pier 26, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Upload Collective, University of San Francisco, North Beach Bauhaus, Lyft HQs, Senator Scott Wiener’s office, San Francisco Marriot Marquis, Neyborly, and Playground Global. My work also has been installed as part of international public and private collections in London, Dubai, and Seoul.

    Artist Statement

    As an artist, I aim for creative emotional expression that springs from personal experiences, both ordinary and extreme.

     

    Seeking not to be constrained, I favor large canvases that permit me to give spontaneous and full manifestation to the subconscious. This freedom is reflected in the eight to ten integrated applications of pigment and the diverse styles and techniques that characterize my work. In that way I can convey a wide range of attitude and emotion through non-representational means, with emphasis on embodied sculpting with paints through the mindful yet intuitive process of creating each stroke and layer.

     

    It is my hope that the exploration of profound personal emotions through my work transcends the canvas in a way that connects in personal ways with the viewer, both conscious and subconscious.

     

  • Sold Works

    Take a look and enjoy!

    Transcendence

    Acrylic on Canvas

    16 " x 20"

     

    Cosmic Erosion

    Acrylic on Canvas

    25" x 25"

     

    Erosion

    Acrylic on Wood

    22" x 30"

     

    Blue Note No.1

    Acrylic on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    The Rain of Love ; No love is lost.

    Mixed Media on canvas

    18x24"

     

    Forest Rain In The Fall

    Acrylic on canvas

    16x20"

     

    Forest

    Acrylic on wood

     

    Le Grand Bleu No.2

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22"x28"

     

    The Flow of Life

    Acrylic on Canvas

    30" x 40"

     

    Blue Space No.2

    Acrylic on Canvas

    60" x 84"

     

     

    Blue Space No.1

    Acrylic on Canvas

    60" x 84"

     

    Trajectory

    Acrylic on Canvas

    30" x 40"

     

    Emergence

    Acrylic on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    Interoception

    Acrylic on Canvas

    36" x 48"

     

     

    Unfolding Emotions

    Pigment Sticks on Canvas

    22x28"

     

    Blue Mind No. 3

    Pigment Sticks on Canvas

    8x8" each

     

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

    Acrylics on Canvas

    30x40"

     

    Heat 

    Acrylics on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    The garden of birth

     

    Acrylics on wood

    30x40"

     

    Le fleur de l'age

    Mixed Media on Birchwood

    30x40"

     

    Transcendence No.6

    Oil on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    The Waves of Emotions

    Gold, Charcoal, Acrylics on Canvas

    22" x 30"

     

    Blue Space

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    30x40"

     

    Blue Space

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Logic vs Passion

    Acrylics on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    The Flow of Grief

    Acrylics on Canvas

    20" x 16"

     

    Star Dusts

    Acrylics on Canvas

    30x40"

     

    Transcendence

    Acrylics on Canvas

    16" x20"

     

    The Forest of Emotions

    Acrylics on Canvas

    16" x20"

     

    The Forest in San Francisco

    Acrylics on Canvas

    22" x 30"

     

    Heat

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Athena Monologue Vol.11

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    Transcendence Vol.10

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    16" x 20"

     

    Anger

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    30" x 40"

     

    Vulnerability No.1

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No.5

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Untitled No.2

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    10" x 10"

     

    The Flow of Emotions

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    15" x 18"

     

    Vulnerability 2-2

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    18" x 24"

     

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  • Blue Space Nebula Collection

    Blue Space ; Nebula No.2 2017 Mixed Media on canvas 5 ft x 7 ft

    Blue Space; Nebula No.1

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 84"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No.2

    Mixed Media on canvas

    60" x 84"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No.3

    Mixed Media on canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No.4

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No.5

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Nebula No. 6

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Ocean No.1

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

    Blue Space; Ocean No.2

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

  • Photos

    Interoception Collection

    Interoception No.1,  Mixed Media on Canvas,  36" x 48"

    Interoception No.1

    Mixed Media on canvas

    36" x 48"

    Interoception No.2

    Mixed Media on canvas

    36" x 48"

     

    Interoception No.3

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    36" x 48"

     

    Interoception No.4

    Mixed Media on Canvas,

    36" x 48"

     

    Interoception No.5

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    36" x 48"

     

    Interoception No.6

    Mixed Media on canvas

    30" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.7

    Mixed Media on canvas

    30" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.8

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.9

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.10

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

    Interoception No.11

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.12

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.13

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.14

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.15

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    40" x 40"

     

    Interoception No.16

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    36" x 48"

     

    Interoception No.17

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

     

  • Consonance in Space Collection

    Consonance in Space No.2 2018

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.3 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    60" x 70"

    Consonance in Space No.4 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.5 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    120" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.5-1 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.5-2 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.6 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

    Consonance in Space No.7 2019

    Mixed Media on Canvas

    60" x 72"

  • Quantum Entanglement Collection

    Quantum Entanglement No.1 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22" x 28"

    Quantum Entanglement No.2 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22" x 28"

    Quantum Entanglement No.3 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22" x 28"

    Quantum Entanglement No.5 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22" x 28"

    Quantum Entanglement No.5 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    22" x 28"

    Quantum Entanglement No.6 2019

    Acrylic on paper

    18" x 24"

    Quantum Entanglement No.7 2019

    Acrylic on Canvas

    72" x 60"

  • Contact

    Don't be afraid to reach out. You + us = awesome.

  • Articles about Athena Kim Art

    Athena Kim and the Law of Conservation

    October 23rd 2018

    Athena Kim and the Law of Conservation

     

    "Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme.”

    Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, Traité élémentaire de chimie, 1789.

     

    To understand anything about Athena Kim the person is to understand suffering. Her innate ability to transform suffering into beauty is a testament to human resilience. Her deliberate decision to do so is an inspiration.

     

    As described elsewhere, Kim is a multiple trauma survivor from Korea. While a remarkable story, this is not the time or place to discuss the horrific experiences she has lived through, nor how for over 20 years in Korea she managed to survive before moving to the California Bay Area in 2016 and establishing herself as an artist in 2017.

     

    Surprisingly perhaps, as chilling and inspiring Kim’s life story may be, it is not necessary to know anything about the artist to appreciate the immediate beauty of her art. Although her work can certainly be understood as a ferocious attempt to heal from trauma, a process of transfiguration of psychological and physical pain into an esthetic experience, it also projects a force of expression that escapes such reductive interpretation.

     

    In fact, most viewers spontaneously experience Kim’s large, colorful canvases as profoundly joyful and meditative. For instance it is hard not to recognize the signature Blue Space Nebula series, with its seemingly never ending layers of magnificent blues, as a voyage into deep space. Moving closer, thick waves of vinyl paint appear: now we feel engulfed by something like a vast ocean. However our trip is not over. Unlike almost any other works of modern art which demand a safe physical distance, the Blue Space Nebula series can be experienced eyes closed, by touch only, hands caressing their infinitely varied vinyl asperities as if entering a different dimension. Step back again and these sensory inputs seem to merge in our brain, perhaps approaching what neurophysiologists call “synthesia”, an integration of the senses where for instance a sound can be experienced as a color, or as in this case, color can be experienced as touch or inner movement.

     

    While true that the many layers of superposed paint, up to ten in some cases, may also be a kind of protective psychological barrier the artist has created in an attempt to distance herself from ever lurking symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), just as Van Gogh’s turbulent Starry Night swirls cannot be reduced to his supposed schizophrenic hallucinations, Athena Kim’s Blue Space Nebula layering cannot be reduced to PTSD. However what does define the series is the extraordinary multi-sensorial and physiological experience it elicits in our own brain, and the existential sense of awe it may trigger.

     

    As another example, the Vulnerability series is an explicit attempt by the artist to peel away some of her protective defenses by letting the canvas breathe with white open spaces, possibly at the risk of being exposed to new emotional pain. The result is a semi-organized turbulence of lines and shapes in the style of classic Abstract Expressionism.

     

    But again, such an explanation does not do justice to the work. Its immediate effect on me was that of a three dimensional rotating cylinder jumping entirely off the white canvas into space, like nothing I had quite ever experienced before. I would actually describe it not simply as a form suspended in space, but as a space-time in itself built according to the rules of some yet to be invented non-linear mathematics.

     

    I later found not everyone sees this sudden 3-D jump off the canvas, demonstrating if anything that our brains work differently from each other. However even seen as flat, or flatish, the series does come close to obeying the kind of fractalian mathematics often found in nature: look closer and instead of disappearing, new paintings of similar kind but with seemingly endless variation appear. In this sense, Kim’s painting is neither abstract nor representative, but open ended with a depth akin to that of the sensations of the real world as we experience them.

     

    Facing such mastery, it is astounding to learn Kim had never held a brush before 2015. Moreover, like a Picasso incarnated in a petite Asian woman who’s creativity was suddenly unleashed as if a fountain too long suppressed, she has progressed through four or five styles already.

     

    Such almost blinding creative profusion only illuminates what I believe to be the one unifying theme of Athena Kim’s ever changing work: transformation. In the end her art seems to obey not a psychological or esthetic law but a physical one, the law of conservation of mass as discovered by the visionary 18th century chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier: “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”

     

     

    Written by Thor Conelly

    Athena Kim's Blue Space series

    October 19th 2018

    "In her art, Athena Kim transmutes universal human emotions—joy, pleasure, anger, despair, love, lust, envy, contentment—into vibrant colors and tactile textures. Her Blue Space series evokes the depth of the ocean with prickly, thickly-painted technique; like the ocean itself, these paintings look serene from a distance but can be menacing up close. Her layered compositions move the body before the mind, like the sun being obscured by the clouds, or coming out from behind them to warm your skin."

     

    Written by Brian Robinson,

    Director of Analytics / Media Partnership, Facebook

     

    Inspiring to imagine exploration in space

    “The size scope of Athena’s Blue Space Nebula art was what first caught my attention. We’re excited by anyone who is inspired enough about space to create pieces of art that are intended to inspire others to explore their creative side and get interested in exploration. Athena’s work appears to please both the discerning artistic eye and capture the imagination of people about their future in space.”

     

    Written by Bob Jacobs, Deputy Associate Administrator / Communications, NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    The depth and variety of different feelings and emotions.

    May 13th 2019

    I love the depth and variety of different feelings and emotions that Athena’s work invokes. There are many that I connect with, but when I saw Vulnerability 2-2, it particularly jumped out. I love the thick bright colours against the bright white background of the canvas. Athena's pieces all contain so much emotion, I feel like I get different stories, maybe different moments from her life, from the different styles. I was particularly enjoying her BlueSpace pieces, the depth and heavy, brooding feeling of them. It was a surprise to me when I saw these lighter pieces and initially I was drawn the ones with the similar blue-black pallet, but then I found these lighter, more colorful ones, they have optimism and energy that I love. It hangs on my wall now, a little reminder of Athena’s own optimism, that makes me smile when I see it.

     

    Written by Tom Broxton, UX design manager, Google

    Different shapes emerge from different viewpoints.

    May 12th 2019

    I was drawn to the bright, contrasty colours and the depth they create together, almost like looking through the trees into the forest behind, or through the reflections into the pool beneath. Different shapes emerge when you look at it from different viewpoints. I love the metallic touches in it.

     

    Sarah Hingston, Designer

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