Chronology

100 days photo with sister, 1953

1954

With Mother, Seoul, 1954

With older sister, 1954

Wonsook Kim, American Doll

With an American doll, 1959

1960

Highschool days, 1970

In the first studio in Seoul, 1971

Illinois State University, 1972

Family photo, 1972

With daughter, Sheyli, and son, Stone, near Soonchun, Korea, 1982

In New York studio, 1984

In New York studio, 1984

UN Headquarters, 1995

First grandchild, 1999

With Thomas in Bologna, Italy, 2003

Loves of Outsiders, 2004

Illinois State University to give commencement address, 2004

Studio, 2005

Drawings for Courtesan Poets, in 2006

Studio, 2008

Life as a Painting, 2011

Exhibition at Gallery Hyundai,  2012

Exhibition at Illinois State University,  2016

Wonsook Kim, Innocents, Early Works 1972-1976,  2016

1953

Born March 27, 1953, to Eunhee Cha and Kyungrae Kim, in Busan on the southern tip of Korea.

1954

After the ending of Korean War, moves to Seoul on her first birthday. Kim, the second oldest of eight children, two boys and six girls was raised in a Korean, Christian family that included two grandmothers. Following a Korean tradition of the time, dressed briefly as a boy to secure the birth of a male child. Her father, the journalist and managing editor of Kyung Hyang Daily newspaper, was involved with photography as well as music, also esteemed by her mother, a piano player.

Her parents try to interest her in playing the piano. Surrounded by classical books about all the great men and women of the world, as well as music, Kim prefers to immerse herself in drawing Korean folk stories passed on by her grandmothers or the Christian bible stories that shaped the family’s disciplined daily existence. “Every morning we would be gathered round to read a couple of bible chapters. “I used to draw what we read, like King Solomon and stories about David.”

1959

Enters Susong Grammar School in the center of Seoul.  Encouraged by her primary school training and by her innate quietude, Kim illustrated daily personal and weather events in her diary. Despite her dislike for school, her talent for visual things became evident to her family and teachers.  When selected for the “environment beautifying committee” her responsibilities included decorating classrooms and colorful arrangements for important extant birthday celebrations. ” In Korea, the first birthday of any child was accompanied by the biggest celebration especially if it was a boy, of course…I always had an eye for things, a talent or a slant.”

1968

Graduated from Sook Myung Girls Middle School and entered Kyung Hee Girls High School where Korean art education was divided into eastern and wester study. Kim prefers the western tradition. Trained in a fairly western tradition that involved the rigorous discipline of artistic practices.” We drew one egg for a whole semester, two eggs next, such disciplined training made me far ahead of American students when I came to US in1972.”

1971

Set up a studio in the family basement to study classical statues. Attended one of the best Korean art colleges, Hong-ik University, Seoul, for a year. Kim researched art schools abroad looking for broader perspectives and independence.  Chose the United States for future study and is Is accepted by major US Universities. Studied English assiduously to prepare for TOEFL for potential acceptance.

1972

Moved to the United States where she attended Illinois State University, Normal Illinois, which offers her the best scholarship opportunity.

1974

Stops resisting the autobiographical nature of her true work and followed the advice of a teacher, Harold Boyd, when he advised her to make her diaristic daily visual notations the basis of her art.  “He was instrumental teacher who opened the door to my instinctive, natural self.”

Began printmaking efforts. Read confessional poets including, Robert Bly and Sylvia Plath.

1975

Earned Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from ISU, Normal Illinois. Visited Mashiko Japan, for apprenticeship with Hamada studio. Frustrated by the limitations of clay, continued her studies at ISU in printmaking. Apprenticed at Landfall Press, Chicago, Illinois with master printer, Jack Lemmon.

Translated her small book of sketches into larger drawings and paintings.

1976

Earned Master of Fine Arts at ISU, Normal Illinois. Created her first US solo show. “Normal Experience” at the Center of Fine Arts, ISU from an installation two meters hight and thirty-six meters long, which covers the entire gallery, collected by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea.

First key solo exhibition of prints and drawings shown at Myungdong Gallery, Seoul Korea. Her unique artistic vision, heralded by the critic O Kwangsoo “…an artist who has her own spirit is rooted in the universal” and the painter, Byun Chong Ha, among many others. Career boosted by the sale of over half the exhibition. Became renown on the Korean art scene.

Moved to 22 Warren Street a loft in Tribeca, New York, to live among other struggling artists such as, Peter Boucour, Tony Wong, Jennifer Bartlett, and Jan Hashy. Became sympathetic to the New Imagist Movement. Began work in Better Homes and Gardens office. Painted in the evening.

1978

Decided to enclose her many sketches and drawing series into wooden boxes. Used the tops of boxes as the surface for paintings. Marylin Klonodidas brought her friend from the Drawing center to see her work.  As a result, The Drawing Center showed her shadow series and other drawings. Brooke Alexander visited her studio and decided to show her work at his So-Ho Gallery.  That show initiated others. Solo show of works at Gil Gallery, Seoul, Korea.

Worked as a freelance stylist for Apartment Life Magazine, as well as Macy and Bloomington catalog departments.

1979

Becomes a United States citizen.

1980

Carter Radcliff visited her studio and invited her (the only woman) to show in Illusion and Allegory show at Brooke Alexander Gallery along with New Imagists artists such as Richard Bosman, Ken Goodman, Thomas Lawson, Robert Longo and David Salle.

Met and married the son of a Korean missionary, Steve Linton, who is studying at Columbia University. Adopted two half Korean children Stone and Sheyli.

Began exploring wooden house shapes as a basis for painting emotional landscapes within the domestic sphere.

1981

Invited by Curt Marcus to show her work in Episodes exhibition along with such artists as Mark Tansey, Robin Tewes, Ida Applebroog, and Don Baechler.

1982

Works included in Black and White exhibition at MoMA, and Painting and Sculpture Biennial exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana.

First solo show at Brooke Alexander, who continued to represent her until 1985. Shown consistently in Korean galleries abroad.

Moves to 140th Street, Harlem and creates a top floor studio.

1985

Begins global travels.  Becomes enamored with Japanese culture.

1987

Exhibits at Gallery Watari and INAX Gallery in Tokyo, Japan and  Hanguk Museum, Seoul, Korea.

1988

Shows at Hamburg Masse, Hamburg, Germany. Travels throughout Europe.

1990

Galleries and museums around the world including New York, Chicago, Bulgaria, Korea, Bologna, Brazil, and Madrid exhibit Kim’s works,

Begins humanitarian work for orphanages and clinics in North Korea.

1991

Museo of Contemporary Art, Mexico City shows her work. Travels to Mexico, visits Frieda Kahlo’s home.

1993

Barry Blinderman, director of ISU galleries invites Kim to show her work with her teacher, Harold Boyd, in an exhibition, The Spirits Descending, at ISU, Normal Illinois.

1994

Ministry of Culture, Bulgaria, invites Kim to show her work in a solo exhibition at Gallery Vistosha, Sofia, Bulgaria. Two openings draw large crowds.  Exhibition lectures and programs well attended. Sigma Galley, New York exhibits a solo show.

1995

d.p. fong San Jose, California exhibits solo show of Kim’s work.

WFUNA in United Nations Headquarters Office published a Limited Edition Lithograph, Full Moon Lady, which became the UN Stamp whose image commemorated 50 years of ending of Korean War.

1996

Creates over 200 drawings, paintings and murals inspired by Till We Have Faces, the book by C.S. Lewis.

Paints mountain shapes and incorporates them into a work, A Thousand Mountains, based on the works of Midang, a Korean poet, who memorized the names of all the mountains around the world in an attempt to keep his aging mind fresh and active.

Walsh Gallery, Gowie Gallery, Chicago Ill, along Billy Graham Museum, Wheaton, Ill exhibit solo shows Kim’s work.

1997

Yeh Gallery, Seoul Korea, Manderville Gallery Union College, New York, and Galerie Gan-Beauburg Gallery, Paris, France, exhibit Kim’s work in solo shows.

1998

Moves to Maryland.  Paints on a larger scale. Enlarges small shaped paintings into wall size.

Shows large scale murals at Seoul Art Space.

Chosun Iibo Museum, Seoul, Kangkan Gallery, Busan, exhibit Kim’s work in Korean solo shows.

Walsh Gallery, Chicago, Ill, Brewster Gallery, New York, NY, and Bowie Art Gallery, Due West, South Carolina exhibit Kim’s works in solo shows in the United States.

Begins humanitarian efforts In North Korea that continue to the current day.

1999

Sabina Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, California, exhibits Kim in solo show.

First grandchild of five, Nicholas born.

2000

Palazzo Montefano, in Bologna, Italy where she has lived intermittently near her sister for years, holds solo show. Works exhibited in solo shows at the United Nations Mission of the Republic of Korea, and the Joong Ang Cultural Center, New York City.

YEH Gallery, exhibits solo show in Seoul, Korea.

Begins her daily Korean writing exercises to avoid losing the use of her native language.

2001

Exhibits in Gallery Hanna, Kornberg, Germany.

Thomas Cohn, engaged by her work at Art Cologne Art Fair, Germany 2000, exhibits Kim’s works at his gallery in San Paulo, Brazil. Invited by Thomas McCormack to show at Thomas McCormack, in Chicago, Illinois, regularly.

Dissolves her marriage to Steve Linton.

2002

Works on a major collaborative print project supported by Yon Art, Seoul Korea, which includes etchings by master printer, Skip Barnhardt, George Washington University, color lithography with Tim Sjeesley at Corrido Press, New York and etchings at Normal Editions in Illinois State University. Konghan Gallery, Busan, Korea holds solo show.

2003

March 27, married Thomas Clement, a medical device innovator, on her fiftieth birthday in Bologna, Italy.

2004

April 4 – April 21 Wonsook Kim solo show at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul Korea, followed by solo shows  at  Kong Gan Gallery, Busan, Korea, Hanemaru Gallery, Kochi, Japan, Sabina Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, California, and Cooper Union Gallery, New York, NY.

Illinois State University invites Kim to give the commencement address.

2005

Kong Gan Gallery, Busan, Korea, 2×13 Gallery, New York, NY, and Promega Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin hold solo shows.

Kim resurrects hydrostone sculpture project begun in 1976.

2006

Publishes drawings for Courtesan Poets with Wolhee Choe.

September 8 – October 14, solo show, Loves of Outsiders, shown by Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, Illinois,

October 18 – November 3, Loves of Outsiders, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea.  Exhibitions feature paintings, hydro stone and bronze castings.

2007

YEH Gallery, Seoul, Korea exhibits solo show.

March: mother, Eunchee Cha, dies.

2008

Begins life size bronze sculpture.

2009

October 1 – October 21 Arario Gallery, NewYork, NY presents Forest Scenes.

2010

March 27-April 23, Le Torri Dell’acqua gallery, Budrio, Italy exhibits Poesia dell’Aqua, mixed media on canvas,

June 12-July 10, Capricorna Gallery, Capri, Italy, exhibits Poesia dell’Aqua, mixed media on canvas

2011

Forest Scenes series used as a backdrop for a piano concert for Kim’s sister,Wonmi in Bloomington, Indiana.

Art Books in Korea publishes Life as a Painting, a collection of essays Kim wrote to keep in touch with her native language.

2012

June 12 – July 8, Wonsook Kim at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea, features Forest Scenes Kim’s and cast bronze works, oil on canvas and mixed media. Forest Scenes shown in Chinina Italy.

Begins bronze drawing project that includes wall hanging sculpture in bronze resembling brush drawings.

2013

MK Gallery, Washington, D.C.exhibits Kim’s works in solo show.

2014

Kong Gan Gallery, Busan, Korea exhibits Kim’s work in solo show.

2015

Establishes Wonsook Kim Scholarship Endowment at Illinois State University.

2016

University Gallery at Illinois State University features Kim’s earliest works along side her latest works in a solo show.

Wonsook Kim, Innocents, Early Works 1972-1976  is published in conjunction with this show.

2017

George Berges Gallery, New York, NY exhibits Kim’s works in a solos show.

2018

George Berges Gallery, New York, NY exhibits Kim’s works in a solos show.

2019

Illinois State University awards Kim with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

© Copyright 2015 - Woonsook Kim