About the exhibition
Marking the artist’s first museum solo exhibition, Ken Gun Min’s The Lost Paradise examines a major throughline in his work: landscapes and natural world. Comprising recent, expansive paintings, the exhibition foregrounds Min’s use of real and imagined landscapes as the primary subject or idyllic setting through which to explore issues around race, gender, sexuality, and the immigrant experience.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Min received his foundational art education in Western painting technique and art history, before moving to California. Min often reckons with the cultural transition from South Korea to the United States through his painting practice, merging Western-style oil paints and Korean pearl pigments on raw canvas, to depict prismatically colorful landscapes–sometimes with figures–that are inspired by real events at sites in Los Angeles (where the artist resides) and locations of the artist’s own memory and imagination. These lushly rendered scenes, often embellished with embroidery and beading, depict the natural world as an enigmatic place ripe with beauty and the sublime, but also with turmoil, melancholy, and contradiction.
Ken Gun Min (b. 1976, Seoul, South Korea; Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) studied western painting and art history and theory at Hongik University in Seoul, Korea and received his MFA from the Academy of Art, University of San Francisco. Solo exhibitions include Silverlake Dog Park, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Wounded Man, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, K contemporary, Denver, CO; and Becoming Palm Tree, Gae Po Project Space, Seoul, Korea. Group exhibitions that featured Min’s work include Strings of Desire, Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles, CA; i know you are, but what am i? (De)Framing Identity and the Body, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UT; Sparkle in, Fade out, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; People of the Otherworld: Ken Kiff in Dialogue, curated by Kathy Battista, Albertz Benda, New York, NY; Who is Your Master? curated by Wolf Hill, 1969 Gallery, New York, NY: Bozomag: Bozo Family Hoedown, M+B gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and 36 Paintings, Harper’s, East Hampton, NY. He was a Hopper Prize finalist and received awards from Direktorenhaus, Berlin, DE and the Kellogg Foundation, New York, NY. Min’s work has been featured in Artnet, Artsy, Hyperallergic, The Art Newspaper, Wallpaper* and Frieze.
Leilani Lynch, MCA Denver's Associate Curator