Artist based in Bloomfield Hills, MI
Reeha Lim, Portrait of the artist.
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
My mother probably never expected to be a mom – there was a point in her life when she wanted to become a Buddhist nun. Growing up with her, who always had and has the air of solitude, also having experienced frequent relocations across countries, diasporic memories have deeply influenced my life, thus my practice.
Warm-hearted Deciever, 2022, Acrylic, pigment, oil on raw canvas, 72*66(inch)
As a Korean who spent half of my early life in China, I naturally started to navigate the ambiguity inherent in so-called truth, faith, and boundaries.
And it was the day I traveled by train. While sitting in the backward-facing seat, the scenery continued extending for a long stretch ahead of my sight for hours and hours. At some point, I silently realized that I had always been leaving somewhere rather than heading towards somewhere, and that the longing afterimage is what I want to hold through the way of art.
Dear. Kyeong-sook, 2023, Acrylic, pigment on muslin, 118*83(inch)
Noiseless Roar, 2023, Acrylic, pigment on muslin, 54*69(inch)
"At some point, I silently realized that I had always been leaving somewhere rather than heading towards somewhere, and that the longing afterimage is what I want to hold through the way of art."
Dear. Kyeong-sook, Acrylic, pigment on muslin, 69*54(inch)
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
During this summer, I am gathering ideas from memories and dreams without a specific direction for my upcoming thesis project at Cranbrook Academy of Art. I am a heavy dreamer. I interlace impressions from reality, memories, anxieties, and my perception of the subconscious space through dreams. It is from this process that I often find inspiration. Some recurring keywords that have emerged so far were: time differences, black waves and black woods, fake sky, hands, beads, and wrinkles.
Non-star, 2023, Acrylic, pigment, oil on raw canvas, 100*69(inch)
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
I try not to become too accustomed to my surroundings and instead maintain a curiosity. This effort of detaching myself form my fixed perspective and gravity allows me to chink the joy of unfamiliarity within familiarity.
Threshold, 2022, Acrylic, oil on muslin, 59*59(inch)
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
I initiate the early stages of my work in several ways, and one of them involves capturing a moment when an idea finally crystallizes visually. I sketch it out with simple lines and take reference photos or videos to aid me. This manner involves investing a considerable amount of thought upfront, but it becomes fairly spontaneous once I start the actual artwork.
Another approach is starting from unconscious drawings and then taking breaks from looking at them, only to revisit later. I wait patiently for something to reveal itself within the artwork and my inner self. This method is playful yet agonizing, and sometimes it takes longer solely discovering than actual painting. Instead of seeking completion, I declare the work as complete when I find nothing to do more.
Hinged, 2023, Acrylic, pigment on muslin, 21*21(inch)
Both approaches can coexist or be combined within a single project. It feels akin to some methodologies used when writing a scenario, where one begins with a vivid scene that comes to mind, and then constructs the entire narrative to justify that scene, while the other is to first develop the narrative and then work on the details later to make it make sense.
In my studio, I activate both the wall and floor by arranging and suspending fabric, allowing pigments to seep into the surface and structure. This technique is inspired by the traditional Korean method of Bae Chae.
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
Just changing into my work suits as I get to the studio, lower the curtain, take off my outside shoes, and ensure that I am completely alone.
Detail of Warm-hearted Deciever, 2022, Acrylic, pigment, oil on raw canvas, 72*66(inch)
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
This is a something that I always keep in mind as well. Be as genuine as possible to yourself and your art.