Kang Nam-Gu - private epic poem towards the nature
Chang Gyung-Hwa (Gwangju Museum of Art, Art and Science Center)
Selection of two kinds of aesthetics
Kang Nam-Gu selects two kinds of aesthetics for perceiving the nature at the same time.
One is the aesthetics of the biological reenactment. He sought to encompass the investigation and respect for the natural beauty
as a realistic reenactment that is visible to the eyes instead of the stylization or ideological expression when it comes to the nature.
Another one is the gratitude for the nature, and this is the view that re-interprets to ego’s aesthetic state.
This view is the East’s ideology on the view of nature, and it is the concept of ‘heaven and the man are one’ that the nature and ego are one.
Kang Nam-Gu assumes the artistic attitude that addresses two kinds of naturalism aesthetics approach methods of the East and West in one work.
The first one is based on the Western naturalism aesthetics that he mastered through Western aesthetics education at an art university.
Close-range view is reenacted through deep and dense analysis with nature’s inspirational impression and investigation in accordance to space,
place and time.
This approach method depicts by focusing on the front view which is the center of his works. Flower, tree, rock, field and others are focused
on the front view and the back view is placed by amplifying. In case of the recent pomegranate series, they adhered to the
emphasis of the theme by handling the back view boldly in single color tone.
The second one is the East’s view of nature. This may be the effect of the environment where he grew up for a long time, and the effect on his
sentiment and emotion. As someone from Jeonrado (Sunchang), he received Confucian education. This formative background enabled him to blend in
with the East’s view of nature in the most natural manner.
Starting from the period when he increased the aesthetic completeness of his works as an artist, he strongly expresses the gratitude in a warm
and gentle manner but also in a dream-like manner when it comes to the back view related issues pertaining to the Eastern naturalism. This may be
natural phenomenon in a way. Likewise, images of the back view emphasize the images of the front view even more to highlight the factuality,
which in turn increases work’s completeness.
He expressed his psychological state when it comes to his works on the back view as, “Imagining the impression that was seen in the field and
that was felt with the heart… (omission) the scenery where the heart stays”. The drawing technique of this tendency began to express the back
view while depicting abstract and concrete images in conjunction starting from his solo exhibition in 2005.
Kang Nam-Gu continued to train himself to concentrate perception of the two kinds aesthetics of the West and the East in one work adequately
to increase artworks’ artistic completeness and to paint the nature in an impressive manner. Now, nature’s vitality is getting reincarnated with
the excitement of the lyrical impression with the unique drawing technique that matures the naturalism aesthetics of the West even more based on
the Eastern cultural sentiment.
Persistent analytical ability and power of description
Kang Nam-Gu entered the prime of his life that is completed while increasing the completeness of his work production both in terms of the contents
and format. The set of skills that make his works stand out during this period are his analytical ability that brings out the nature’s essence
tenaciously and the power of description and painting technique that back up this ability.
Flower, tree, grass and others that are placed in his works on the front view are placed though focused analysis. Floral leaf, grass leaf, field
and others at the front view are breathing deep with detailed depiction, one by one, and they are perfect for circulating the dried sentiment of
the people in the modern age since they are so lovely to the point that it is not easy to contain the impulse to kiss the nobility of natural life.
Moreover, tree branch secures persistent and strong profound vitality of the nature since vitality is born as it has moisture. In particular, in case
of the recent series, pomegranate artworks, viewers can almost feel the sour taste of the fruit in their mouth, and feel their mouth, watering to
the point that they want to eat the pomegranate grain. This impression wraps their entire body.
Likewise, it isn’t hard to focus on the superb power of description of his works as he analyzes the delicate and persistent nature’s nobility and
expands on his analysis. Moreover, he uses the painting technique that entails utilizing ‘air brush’ to optimize the power of description. ‘Air brush’
painting technique increases the visual effect significantly when it comes to the expression of gratitude of the back view as well as the nature’s
vitality that appears in the front view. Kang Nam-Gu’s analytical ability and persistent depiction ability towards the superb nature are based on
tenacious concentration as a diligent artist.
In the modern age, the nature became the target of greed that is stepped on recklessly due to the Developmentalism based on the power of capital.
While caressing the bruised and tired nature amidst this situation of the era, with warm-hearted and gentle aesthetics, he is posing a fundamental
question to the modern society for the co-existence of the human beings and the nature. Meanwhile, he addresses this otherwise heavy theme, with
not so heavy, lovely, beautiful and fantastic aesthetics.
Kang Nam-Gu is giving birth to the fantastic and mystic aesthetics once again by utilizing his own artistic interpretation to interpret heavy
topics such as fear, beauty, sadness, enjoyment and others.
Private impression of lyricism
Kang Nam-Gu is depicting natural scenery and space that are found readily in our surrounding using gentle, delicate and sometimes private perspective
and analysis. If his analytical ability wouldn’t be sufficient, then his works may have been left uncompleted. Moreover, if he would have lacked the
power of description and stylish painting technique that back up his analytical skill, then he would not have secured impressive lyricism.
Lyricism is the start of artworks’ impression. Likewise, the issue of lyricism for art is very important regardless of all times and places no matter
what the contents and format may be.
To Kang Nam-Gu, lyricism seems like caressing even one floral leaf and the trivial weeds and pebbles of the field and even the flowing rivers with his
deep affection and respect for the order and the nature that stem from his inner self. He depicts them with affinity that is at the tip of his brush.
Moreover, lyricism in his works are sufficient to induce subtle waves while staying in the heart of the viewers when it comes to the flow of the light
Today, Kang Nam-Gu is very likely to observe and to analyze the nature tirelessly while opening the day at his narrow, small studio. It is not easy to
hide the solemn impression while he devotes himself entirely to his work production like a hard-working ant working on a canvas. His style today will
serve as a precious foundation for him to grow into even a greater artist in the very near future.