Sun Sook Kim

Dreaming Stranger

May 1st  – June 15th 20017


A native of South Korea, Sun Sook Kim is living and working in Philadelphia, PA.  In her colorful and bright paintings and drawings, she expresses the painful experiences of her childhood in an abusive family and her current battle with breast cancer. She seeks to find hope in life through her work.

Sun Sook Kim uses a variety of unconventional materials in her drawing and painting including instant coffee, strings, packing paper, and fabrics.  Her personal narrative combined with her unique handling of drawing, color and shape form a lyrical and beautiful body of work.

Kim received an MFA and BFA in Painting and in Textile & Fashion Design at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Korea.  She was a participant in the 2016 Singapore International Art Fair in Singapore, the 2016 BAMA Busan International in Korea, and the 2015 Art n Life Show in Korea.  Kim’s most recent solo show was at Able Fine Art  in New York, NY.  Her work has been also included in numerous group exhibitions at venues including GS tower, The Street Gallery, Gallery Grimson, Hello museum, and Kimi Gallery in Korea. Her work is also included in the Art Skalatium permanent collection and in numerous private collections.


Finding Hope through Painting

Art can be a record of an artist’s emotions that cannot be put into words, but at the same time, it can bring out emotional reactions from viewers. Growing up in a violent domestic environment and suffering from chronic illness, I developed a delicate temperament in me as an artist. I handle my feelings such as fear, loneliness, grief, and rage through art. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was my turning point as an artist. While I was in the hospital, I met many patients and their families who were in deep sorrow. I wanted to ease their hearts and help them to keep hope alive. I started describing the procedure of mastectomy and cancer therapy in my painting. I expressed two sides of the unconscious mind – the person who wants to give up life to stop the pain and the other who wants to be alive and holding onto hope. I gradually expressed the surgery and the pain as a joyful party with black humor in my painting. In the extreme situation, the subject of the painting is rather directed to the bright light of ‘hope’.

I do not place any limitations on my hard-won freedom, which includes the freedom of artistic expression. Most of the time, I use conventional art materials to draw, such as craft and packing papers, instant coffee, string, fabric, ink pens, etc., to express color and lines. As if dancing, I draw lines, sometimes fiercely, sometimes slowly, and I create forms. I want people to feel real live emotions and colors in my paintings. I want to communicate with them by using the same materials that they use every day.

Physical and psychological difficulties that inspire the creation of artworks are not personal issues but the common character of modern people. The artist’s responsibility is to express a formative world in which people cannot express themselves, to enrich life and society, and to spread good energy throughout society. Although it is impossible to change the world with pictures, the goal of my painting is to convey the daily feeling of liberation and hope to the people suffering from loneliness and despair.