The Irving Arts Center is offering two new exhibitions, featuring artists Bob Nunn and Yikwon Peter Kim. The opening reception was held on Nov.6, and the exhibits, titled, “Bob Nunn: A Retrospective” and Yikwon Peter Kim: “Inevitable Progression III” will be available for viewing until Nov. 13.
Not only are Nunn and Kim sharing exhibit space, but they are very good friends as well. Kim was a student of Nunn’s during his time at the University of Dallas Irving Campus. According to Kim, he arrived in Irving from Seoul, Korea in 1985 and wandered into the art gallery on campus and saw Nunn setting up for an exhibition. Even though there was a language barrier, the two men started chatting, with a lot of gesturing involved.
“As we talked, he took the time to invite me to his classroom and to see the work going on there. He asked me about what art courses I might want to take, and before the end of our conversation, I had a job as his gallery assistant,” said Kim.
They continued their friendship, and Kim still considers Nunn a mentor.
Nunn, who was born in Dallas in 1940, is well-known in the N. Texas area, with a four-page curriculum vitae spanning from 1975 to 2020, mostly at UDallas – Northlake. He has been a major influence on artists in the DFW area for almost 40 years.
“I work with all oil paints and linen. Almost all of it has to do with imagery that I have saved somewhere [in my mind]. Sometimes I don't know until after I've actually done the painting that I remember what it was that I saw. I call it, ‘Memories and make-believe,’” Nunn said.
“Of course, I also work in series. Once the original painting is done in a series, I might do as many as 20 more pieces. And in that same series of work, using those same ideas, but changing color or changing form or changing size, I let it grow and see what it will become.
“With much of my work, I already have an idea, a rough idea. For a four-painting series, I had a couple of those canvases stretched, and I had a field trip with my students,” Nunn said. “I had shown what we'd gone through, yanking stretcher bars and rabbit skin glue, and how to stretch canvas and gesso [a hard compound of plaster of Paris used in sculpture or as a base for gilding or painting on wood]. And so, then they said, ‘Well, what's next?’ And I said, ‘Maybe it’s time to paint.’ Then they asked me, ‘Well, what do you do to paint?’ And so, I said, ‘Well, I used to do a cartoon or a drawing. I could do that very quickly, sketched out a kind of a landscape, or whatever the case is. And then that became the painting, as in something that would just start out with a few odd drawings.”
In the smaller back exhibit space, Kim was greeting patrons.
He explained the theme behind his “Inevitable Progression III” series.
“So, this is a series of 16 that I call a ‘Sanctification of My Spiritual Life,’” Kim said. “I used to be selfish and fell away from my spiritual life.
“I started with the white palettes and then I started to write with graphite. I do that and then I kind of cover up with the paint and then I drew right on top of it again and just covered it with more paint.
“I cut [shapes] out of the piece and sewed it back together by hand. This was the final step of creating the pieces. This is in a way kind of a metaphor for pain, suffering, and things you did wrong. And I kind of try to resolve that and to kind of heal it,” Kim said.
“The colors represent anguish, anxiety, depression, and disappointment. We've all fallen in faithfulness. I'm talking about [this] to myself and to my family - my closest relatives in Korea. In some of the pieces, you will see my family’s names, including [someone that] has recently passed away.
“Sometimes in life, you want to see the bigger picture. I'm so blessed, and I am so thankful. Down there sometimes [looking at] the blue, some of the people feel cold and chills and loneliness. Or think about a deep ocean, which is blue and can become black and very cold,” said Kim.
At 3:00 pm, Kim came into his part of the gallery for a silent presentation.
“So, you will see me. I don't engage with anybody in the public. I'm just doing my own thing. I’m just coming in. So, this [piece of plastic on the floor] marks the ritual I do. At the end, I bow. It is from my culture where you bow down three times,” he said.
As promised, Kim walked into the gallery and went from piece to piece, adding things with his graphite tool, blending them into the existing art, and then bowed down three times in the Buddhist tradition.
Marcie Inman is the Director of Exhibitions and Educational Programs at the Irving Arts Center.
“Well, I've known Bob for a long time. I mean, Bob has been a huge presence and influence in the art community and in the art scene in the Dallas area for years and years. So, I've been aware of Bob's work for almost 30 years at least by now, and we did a one person show of his back in 2003. And he's been in some other groups shows, like our ‘Texas and Neighbors Regional Juried Show’ and the ‘Heart Connection Members Show,’” said Inman.
“[Kim] is a former student of a Bob’s and that's how I met him. He came to visit me a few years ago while he was in town visiting Bob and other friends,” Inman said. “You know, he has connections in the area. Well, he did go to North Lake for a couple of years, but he also went to SMU. He has been very supportive of putting together a show of a Bob's and he actually wrote a short little piece in the exhibition catalog.”
For more information on these incredible exhibitions, visit IrvingArtsCenter.com/.