In the aesthetic implications of the image, Graham Collier stated, it is the “ability of the object (of art) to inspire new levels of thought and feeling in the viewer by virtue of its particular plastic character; and that such new levels of awareness involve cognitive realizations of perfection or beauty, or may induce deeper sentiments which are thus both revealed and shaped in the art object.” To say that work of art is aesthetically pleasing is to suggest that it is elegant or splendid - splendid in the sense that its parts or overall proportions are in a harmonious, balanced relationship - or that we perceive an order or unity present in all the formal relationships of the piece.”

Ehja Kang comes from a culture where education includes both the issue of character development as well as learning vocational skills. Courses in art and music form a basic foundation before entering any field of specialization. She is a graduate of Chookye Art College in Korea, 1985. Blessed with childlike purity and naiveté, Ehja is thrust in a world of grand scale, in a society where science and technology intervene between man and nature, and an era where the relationship between atomic energy and mankind has entered in a new still more dangerous age. Thus, her current series of work is an adventure in working in large scale, creating with man-made articles and natural raw materials, and to articulate a qualified space of harmony and balance.

Ehja Kang was born into family whose parents and siblings took to art performance and visual arts naturally. Her father was an organist at their church while her mother, with her interest in music and art, led the family to frequent tours of museums and galleries. Her two brothers singled out their sister Ehja as being the most talented and encouraged her to pursue a career as an artist. From this ideal context, she entered her married life with a husband who is equally supportive, making stretched canvases and framing finished works. She enjoys this opportunity to enter her profession with a prime condition of working daily in her studio.

She begins her daily work with a prayer and meditation with a routine task of applying gesso on raw canvas, painting abstract images on tiny canvases, or cutting and layering translucent colored rice papers creating small collages. This is her time of centering, acclimating her senses with materials, technique and visual elements. When in tune with heightened awareness to respond fully and directly, she proceeds to work on surfaces of unfamiliar shape and larger scale. The canvas space becomes filled with illuminating colors which has always been her primal element. Ehja states, “After my first solo exhibition in 1994, there was a long period of rainy weather. I had a great view of the mountains, and I started to paint feeling. Painting became the expression of the marvel and beauty of God’s nature, especially the cyclical seasons of nature.” With combination of transparent, translucent colors, relationship of hues and a balance of interacting colors she establishes a complex visual language and vocabulary. She realizes that juxtaposition, size and position of colors affect the color language. This creative process of discovering color relationship that best articulates her feelings becomes her daily routine. There is much trial and error and eventually the surface becomes an encrustation of multiple layers of paint. Displacing her earlier more calligraphic brushwork with scruffy and coarse marks, her art moves beyond the refinement to a more virile toughness and primitive crudeness. When encountering a space thirty times larger, Ehja discovers new ideas and inner adjustments to develop a stable system of knowledge. Already the circumstance has compelled her to paint with her hand and wide squeezy, using full swing of her arms.

After more than two years of intensive search in color language, Ehja is able to deal again with the more basic concern of vision. Ehja works directly from her visual experience with Nature as well as more abstract internal imaginative attitude and mental images not consciously realized before the moment. Her vision evolves from experiencing the secret meaning and value of Nature and recognizing the aesthetic potential of such an experience. The painting of desert evolved soon after her trip to Borrego Springs. Yet, while working consistently and with her newly acquired self-confidence, she may start with a random mark followed by sequential steps based on formal development of the image. It is a process of addition and subtraction led by feeling of rightness that brings the work to completion. Ehja often remarks such works evolves quickly. It reveals her greater awareness and sensitivity that is allowing her to proceed freely and smoothly.

In her earlier collage works of 6 x 6 inches and meditation pieces 12 x 16 inches on wood done with limited color range of Korean colored rice papers, she is able to incorporate the element of shape to her visual language. Nesting sheets of translucent colored rice paper offers Ehja to control and transform the materials into an aesthetic whole full of conviction. She manages sequential steps essential in maintaining a balance in the evolvement of a composition simple and direct. In these small collages, she lays the color paper, extending at least two sides, if not three sides of the format forming color shape and space automatically. The soft touch of paper covers often the entire plank of wooden surface, — front, back, sides — shielding the form three dimensionally to exist as a sculpture. In relatively smaller format, Ehja then achieves a sense of scale larger than its actual physical measure and succeeds in coordinating the physical tactile sense with visual sense.

Given the new scale of format 96 x 48 inches, Ehja relates to the outside world of landscape, empathetic with celestial space and light, speed and distance of movement, power of elemental forces and phenomena of change. Drawing physical objects with contour line as the eye sees the natural form is a Western technique which Ehja was already introduced to while in Korea. Human beings from childhood have had a capacity for pattern recognition by specific line of vision along the periphery. However, she rarely separates the steps of first outlining a shape and then filling it with color. Fingers, hand, and tools draws and paints the shape and mass simultaneously, and the forms evolves naturally without any reference to the object. With her early discipline in writing Chinese pictographic symbols, she has learned to configure abstractly, for example, a symbol of a tree out of composite straight and curved lines. Abstract image in her paintings suggests an element of familiarity whereby the onlooker can freely create his or her own reference and specificity.

Ehja’s day in the studio is not a contemplative peace or thoughtless void of supernatural experiences. It is a time to initiate a more sincere search and response detached from ordinary social pressures and stimuli. She possesses a rare God’s gift of finding self in and through all. Now residing in the United States for seventeen years, Western art has had a profound effect on Ehja’s art. She is encountering a new experience living as a middle-class American family with extraordinary privacy and freedom from outside interference. Increase in opportunities and freedoms led her to question and overcome the need to work in a certain prevailing style, and that both the heart and head is essential in the making of art. “I want to know the history of contemporary American art to intelligently guide and form my own direction. I am learning that color power evolves through my controlling its relationship and interaction of colors. Being unfamiliar with the function of black and white, I have long ignored its use. Now, I am realizing that neutral colors can magnify the intensity or saturation of hue. Smaller amount of bright orange surrounded by neutral colors can appear even brighter.” Painting has become a search for connections, web of visual elements related to and influenced by, and influence all of the others. Ehja finds great joy and excitement in learning, which compensates for many long hours in the studio alone.

Realizing the danger of alienation, she maintains a reasonable social connection through conducting private art lessons for children in her studio. Her involvement in the International Exchange Show in Japan and Thailand has opened up a venue for her to meet other artists and establish continual interactions on another level. Similarities and differences, clarification of ones own direction can be perceived by the works of others. In this new era of alienation of technological society, she needs to create her own goals for personal development. As an immigrant adjusting to American ways, her family has worked hard to attain freedom from want and economic security. Only now is she able to meet the concern of harmonious integration of self and a more complete development of her talent and ability to uncover her fullest potential. Painting for Ehja is truly an act of inward and passionate commitment.




  1994 Moorpark College Moorpark, California
  1985 Chookye Art College Seoul, Korea

Solo Exhibitions

  2010 LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
  2008 LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
  2006 LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
  2003 Gallery Sang Seoul, Korea
    LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
  2000 LA Artcore Brewery Annex Los Angeles, California
  1997 Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center Simi Valley, California
  1996 Insa Gallery Seoul, Korea
  1995 Yonsei Gallery Seoul, Korea
    Indeco Gallery Seoul, Korea
  1994 Moorpark College Gallery Moorpark, California

Selected Group Exhibitions

  2012 Fukuoka City Art Museum Fukuoka, Japan
    It's Gallery Fukuoka, Japan
    Gangdong Arts Center Seoul, Korea
  2009 LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
    516 Arts Albuquerque, New Mexico
  2007 LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
    LA Artcore Brewery Annex Los Angeles, California
    Kingyo Gallery Tokyo, Japan
    Tokyo Metropolitan Museum Tokyo, Japan
  2006 Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Rental Gallery
Los Angeles, California
    Todd Madigan Gallery
- California State Univ., Bakersfield
Bakersfield, California
  2005 Las Vegas Art Museum Las Vegas, Nevada
  2004 Las Vegas Art Museum Las Vegas, Nevada
    LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
    Thailand National Cultural Center Bangkok, Thailand
    Fine Arts Gallery of Burapha University Chonburi, Thailand
  2003 Las Vegas Art Museum Las Vegas, Nevada
    LA Artcore Union Center Los Angeles, California
    LA Artcore Brewery Annex Los Angeles, California
  2002 LA Artcore Brewery Annex Los Angeles, California
  2001 Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art Kitakyushu, Japan
    Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art Fukuoka, Japan
  2000 Tustin Renaissance Gallery Tustin, Califonia