Gallery Ascend is pleased to present My Mate in HK, the gallery’s third exhibition of 2022 and Kang Jun Seok’s first international solo show. As a gallery space well known for its devotion to searching for emerging artists from around the world, this event marks the artist’s first solo exhibition outside of Korea, presenting eleven new portrait character paintings created in 2022 by Kang Jun Seok.

Kang Jun Seok was born in 1984 in Busan, South Korea. In 2014, he moved to Jeju Island, a beautiful southern island of Korea and discovered a landscape in reality which perfectly matched his imaginary ideals.

“My work began from my inner desire to be relaxed. Then, I pursued a little bird staying in a well, a small cottage or palace, which is desolate, a barn, and a church that I think might be unknown except for me. I used to take comfort from drawing such images.”

A master in soft tones and gentle brush strokes, Kang break’s free from rigid artistic constrictions by applying elements from nature and landscapes of Jeju Island into his work.

Familiar objects and subjects repeatedly appear in Kang’s paintings, and although at first glance the paintings are close to real life references, a closer inspection will show you the reconstructions that create this alternative world.

Through the fascination of his surroundings, Kang Jun Seok challenges the way we perceive the modern world, instead, revealing an imaginary, dreamlike and often mysterious utopia that liberates the audience from the burden and frustration in real life.

This unique solo exhibition explores the relationship to nature as a place of spirituality through his new set of mysterious childlike character paintings – The characters carry various personal objects that are symbols of childhood representing a philosophical metaphor.

As with all of Kang’s work, each piece is composed with a greater context in mind, from the placement of objects, to the gentle outline of the subject, the audience can gather a sense of stability and function as you step into Kang Jun Seok’s creations.