MyungJin Kim was born in 1975, South Korea. She received her MFA in ceramic art in Seoul National University in 2002 after which she moved to Los Angeles.
Her ceramic art can be found in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, OR, The Pizzuti Collection in the Columbus Museum of Art, The Resnick Collection in Los Angeles, The Archie Bray Foundation Collection in Helena, Montana, The Sonny Kamm Teapot Collection in Los Angeles. As well her work can be found in numerous private collections in the United States.
In MyungJin’s most current body of work, ‘Paradise’, she sculpts organically shaped, low relief, narrative story vessels in warm earthy terra cotta rather than the porcelain clay she had used for so many years in previous bodies of work. Although the themes in her work are archetypal, MJ filters and distills events from the immediacy of her own life as poignant subject matter in her art.
MJ recently moved to San Pedro, CA and with her partner, has created two entirely different sanctuary gardens; one rich with exotic fruits & vegetables and the other with ancient jurassic era plants.
MyungJin has long been interested in painting styles from the East and West. Korean “Minhwa” are mysteriously beautiful folk paintings which have been influential in her work. In particular, 19th century “Whajodo” are symbolic folk paintings that include landscapes with lush flowers and “mated for life” pairs of birds. They offer the promise of prosperity, longevity and happiness.
In the “Paradise” series, MyungJin’s narrative story vessels depict a primal botanical landscape inspired by the ancient plants in her garden. Frequently subject matter among other things, are mated pairs of owls and birds. The owl has been an enduring subject matter appearing intermittently through the years in MJ Kim’s ceramic art.
Each vessels is hand-made with terra cotta clay. Imagery is begun as low relief sculpture around the vessels with painted details in white slip added to complete the image. It is where the complexity of the 2 dimensional and the 3 dimensional come together to complete a form and an image. The vessels are painted and polished with terra sigilatta, best known as the surface finish on remarkable pre-columbian ceramic art from Mexico, Central and South America. This shift in her work was inspired by a recent trip to Mexico City.