Arts and Culture

Carla Kim’s ‘Inspiration’ at Ayala Museum

- Elaine O. Herbosa -

Carla H.J. Kim walked through my studio-gallery doors some two years ago, smartly clad in a dark suit, belying a rather earnest but unsettled feeling. She explained to me that she had been in our country for three years from her native Seoul, Korea, and that she was looking for her own place in the sun in Manila, where she could resume painting happily. She wanted to identify with a group that shared the same interest and passion in art. I welcomed her. 

Almost two years later, Carla expressed her joy in finding what she was searching for. She beamed with happiness as she spoke of her feeling of growth and security in belonging to a group of dynamic, supportive artists. But frankly, no one could be happier than I, that such a talent graced the halls of the studio. Looking through her bio data, I discovered her many accomplishments in the field of art in Korea. 

Aside from garnering many awards in competitions, she was an art teacher as well in the GOAM Middle School. She was also the president of two Korean art associations in the recent past, namely: Miyecole Art Academy and DIDIM Art Academy.

Carla unselfishly shared her techniques and know-how with our group. As we are involved in the French atelier system, all are immersed in their own work, painting side by side and influencing each other. It is a great learning experience to look over one’s shoulder and almost behold a demo of a still life in process, for example, by an advanced artist. Not only is Carla an advanced artist; she is a highly skilled one and holds a master’s degree in art.

In her signature painting for the show, “Violin’s Rest,” a proud violin rendered in rich burnt sienna takes center stage resting against its case, which in turn is half-draped by a colorful Korean national cloth. Receding in the background towards the left is a spring arrangement of hydrangeas in blues, lilacs and pinks in a quiet supporting role, as if in applause of the concert just rendered by the violin. A play of light and shadow makes for a very effective painting.

Carla’s style could be summed up as having been influenced by Impressionism. She has been compared to the likes of Monet, Degas, and Renoir. In her “A Statue of a Ballerina,” a reproduction of Degas’ sculpture, a young ballerina cast in bronze boldly stands on a base, and to the side, a framed picture of two ladies, quickly painted on with brisk strokes so as not to steal the limelight from the ballerina. A brass pitcher holding some artist’s brushes stays dimly lit in the background as well. In all her paintings, focus on the main subject is very evident, and the viewers’ eye does not meander on the other objects but momentarily, thus sending the message across most effectively.

Most of the works to be exhibited have been executed from original set-ups at the studio/gallery L’arc en Ciel. The others were done during the atelier’s plein air outings in nearby scenic spots such as Hacienda Sta. Elena, Tagaytay, in Baguio. 

* * *

“Inspiration” opens on May 15 at Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace, second floor, Glass Wing, Greenbelt Park, Makati Ave. corner Dela Rosa Street, Makati City. The show is on view until May 29. For information, call Tenten Mina at 757-7117 local 33, Carla H. J. Kim at 0920-5551628, or L’arc en Ciel 0917-8901219.

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