“Starting from personal experience, I attempt to visualize the emotionally charged moments that occur over the course of a romantic relationship. Through the embellishment of actual events and memories, I aim to create a new type of place where the messy process of self realization through the experience of love is fully embraced. Painting allows me to uphold and preserve certain emotions and qualities that might lack the attention that they deserve. The characters in the paintings embody a range of feelings that one might experience through the course of a relationship: elation, despair, jealousy, infatuation. They are in need of a setting that would embrace their warmth, lack of maturity, and jumbled attempts at trying to love someone.”
“I am drawn to depictions of intimacy in its many different forms. From the more obvious examples such as Green Lovers (1915) by Marc Chagall or The Kiss (1897) by Edvard Munch to the more abstract such as "Untitled" (Perfect Lovers) (1991) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, I am interested in the visual history of physical and emotional intimacy.”
“With the rise of technologies that allow for constant communication, the question of how to achieve intimacy should no longer be an issue. However, for some, true intimacy continues to remain elusive as ever. Perhaps painting can have a role in helping us navigate such a familiar yet new terrain.”
Simon Ko (b. 1988)
Simon Ko (b.1988) is a painter currently based in Seoul, South Korea. He received his Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from The Cooper Union in 2011, and a Master's degree in Fine Art from Yale University in 2017. He is a recipient of a residency at The Vermont Studio Center. He has participated in several group shows in New York, and had his first solo exhibition at Eve Gallery, Seoul in 2015.
Every Point In Time, 2020
In Every Point In Time, a clock is used as a device to indicate changing emotional states. The four clocks above the figures's heads are paired with a pose: each pose hints at a different story. The clocks in the painting are not so much concerned about telling the correct time, as they are about providing a sense of unpredictablity. Unlike the average clock, the numbers are arranged out of order. The elegance of each pose was my attempt at showing the figure's celebration of such unpredictability and desire for constant change.
The Spell, 2020
A towering female figure stands above a phone, legs crossed, arms waving in a movement that recalls a mystical ritual or dance. Male figures in profile resembling the shape of pixels float up and around the phone screen, moving along to the rhythm of the dance. One of the ideas that The Spell touches upon is how someone can exercise an unfair amount of control over someone else as a part of the process of love and attraction.
In Faint, light and shadow is used to suggest secret desires and witheld emotions. Surrounded by darkness, two figures try to retain and protect whatever source of warmth is left. I was thinking about how a lit candle might represent the feelings one might have for another person, or something witheld, like a secret. I was interested in both the literal and figurative meaning that a lit candle might convey in the context of romance.
The Lovely Bits, 2020
In The Lovely Bits, a romance unravels. Hearts sink and fade, leaving only a faint white trail. A hand gently tries to feel whatever weight is left of one of the falling hearts. Clocks, cutting in and around the two figures, each tell a different time, lacking synchronization.
Float A While, 2021
In Float A While, the memory of someone takes the form of an object, allowing the person recalling to physically rest on it. Like bubbles rising up, the memories take shape as fragile orbs, floating and lingering in the air. I was interested in the idea of a memory being something that supports, both literally and figuratively during a time of need.
A Wandering Frame, 2021ON RESERVE
A Wandering Frame deals with the humorous aspect of infatuation. A male figure makes a picture frame with his hands; by cropping out the rest of the world, a new romantic fixation begins.
And Now Float, For You Believed..., 2021SOLD
In And Now Float, For You Believed, we witness someone being saved by something supernatural. It might be benevolent spirits or grace. A heartbroken male figure is suspended in mid air, as if the stars and clouds around him gather in an attempt to break his fall. His neck slumped and arms limp in despair, it is a badly needed moment of divine intervention.
SIMON KO: AS YOU WILL