Imagine a location, just beyond reach, that you wish you could escape to.
Artist in Residence Soo Kim is working with ten students, mostly from the “Constructing Realities” class, on a collaborative project entitled “Faraway Places.”
Students will print and alter two of their own 30’’x 30’’ landscape portraits and layer their images with photos of other students. Kim will also make portraits of her students, and manipulate these images to reveal an aspect of the person’s character.
“How do you create a portrait of such a complex being?” Kim said. “I do this by making the person do nothing – the absence of anything literal helps people comprehend the person. This is a different way of looking at making art. For me, the project is taking familiar things and giving them a special quality, extending the image to something more than what is present.”
Kim alters her photographs by using a subtractive method, which creates negative space and layers for a three-dimensional feel. She said she hopes to convey the idea of “building and thinking in slowness” through her photographs.
“I make work that is laborious and slow in the making so it has another dimensionality,” Kim said.
She pushes students to think about how to make pictures meaningful with a process that’s ubiquitous. She said that an artist can set her work apart and effectively communicate ideas and perspective by bringing life to her individual perspective and giving familiar things an unfamiliar or unique aspect.
“Because her work is so different than the work that I do, it’s forcing me to step outside my comfort zone and try new techniques, and hopefully it will influence me for the better,” said one of Kim’s students, Emily ’10.
Kim is the Head of Photography at Otis College of Art and Design and has a show opening in February at the Getty.
“Soo Kim’s work pushes the limits of photography,” said Visual Arts Department Head Gina Woodruff, who helped select Kim as this year’s guest artist. “Hopefully she will encourage students to manipulate their photos and realize that not all images have to be flat.”
The Artist in Residence program started last year because of a gift from the Berman/Bloch family of $10,000 each year for five consecutive years to bring in working artists to interact with students.
“Our hope is that the guest artist would interface with students, and ultimately show in the gallery space,” Woodruff said.
“It’s an opportunity to learn from someone new who has been really successful in our field of interest,” Emily said.
Kim’s collaborative pieces will show in the Seaver Gallery May 6-June 4.