b. 1991, South Korea

Heo Chanmi Biography

South Korean artist Heo Chanmi's paintings document the stillness of city life, rendering lone cement blocks, stretches of pavement, and rogue vegetation in rapid strokes and muted palettes and incorporating materials found along her city walks.

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Early Life

Born in Busan, Heo Chanmi studied Fine Arts at Kyungsung University in Busan, where she lives and works today.

Heo Chanmi Artworks

Heo Chanmi's detached observations of Busan are focused studies of the city's streets, noting how they are changed by human alteration or natural progressions like time's passage or falling rain.

Focused Study

Capturing the vanishing and the forgotten, paintings like Daily Walking (2020) or City Ghost (2021) bring to life the lesser noted aspects of the city, showing close-ups of a small plant along a cement wall, or the scratched-up corner of an old building on a dirt road.

In other more matter-of-fact paintings like Rural Block (2020), lone cement blocks are depicted against a sparse pastel backdrop, or in City Block (2021), dirt piles, cones, and straw brooms appear almost serene, removed from the bustle of the streets.

Noticing the Everyday

As the 'Daily Walking Rehearsal' series suggests, Heo's paintings come closer to exercises in noticing and remembrance. They draw out observations concealed in a single place at a single moment and return to them over and over, thus giving them importance.

In Daily Walking rehearsals_Rooftop-sky (2020), a lone stroller can be seen on a grey pavement, while rogue vegetation aggregate on the canvas in the 'After Storm' series (2020—2021). After Storm (2021), depicting a single pear-shaped, bright green form, hints at Heo's interest in lone subjects and abstraction.

Detached Observation

The rare purple or blue in Daily Walking rehearsal_Roofsea (2020) and City Explorer (2021) do not appear to brighten Heo's cityscapes, which retain their blurred strokes and sober subjects— in this case, a rooftop scene and a magpie on a piece of rebar.

Material and Memory

Heo Chanmi locates her subject matter as she roams across the city, taking note of unappreciated things to later replicate them on canvas. Along her walks, Heo will often collect weeds and twigs to use as painting tools, thereby recreating her journey and giving form to things that would otherwise fade from memory.

In 2019, the artist painted Samilgongsa with a blanket that kept her warm in commemoration of the violence committed by the Samil Corporation, a military organisation that committed mass violence in the Mangimi area in the name of national security.

Abstract Cityscapes

Heo's paintings veer towards abstraction, with paintings like Two Men (2021) depicting two lone figures standing apart against a turbid grey background. It is difficult to say whether the scene is set in nature or reimagined from a concrete jungle.

Further gouache paintings like the 'Rolling Pillar' series depict thick boxing gloves grasping at a construction pillar and arms pushing along a large white pillar, hinting at the tension between nature and urbanisation.

Exhibitions

Heo Chanmi's work has been shown widely in South Korea, including at Wooson Gallery, Daegu (2021); Busan Biennale (2020); Gallery Migo, Busan (2020); Gachang Art Studio, Daegu (2019); Chang Ucchin Museum of Art, Gyeonggi (2019); Suchang Youth Mansion, Daegu (2019); Hongti Art Center, Busan (2018); Busan Museum of Art (2018); Changwon Convention Center (2018); 40 Stairs Square, Busan (2018); Art Space Bomulsum, Gyeongsan (2018); Kim's Art Field Museum, Busan (2016); and Space Manduk, Busan (2016).

Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2021

Exhibition view: Heo Chanmi, Settlement, Wooson Gallery, Daegu (2 December 2021–4 February 2022). Courtesy Wooson Gallery.

Heo Chanmi Featured Artworks

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Drawing by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi Drawing, 2020 Acrylic gouache on Korean paper
24.2 x 39.6 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
Drawing by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi Drawing, 2020 Acrylic gouache on Korean paper
101.9 x 66 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
새와 항구 by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi 새와 항구, 2021 Oil on canvas
193.1 x 112.1 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
After Storm by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi After Storm, 2021 Acrylic gouache on canvas
24.2 x 33.4 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
할아버지와 나의 시간 by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi 할아버지와 나의 시간, 2021 Oil on canvas
91 x 91 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
할아버지와 나의 시간 by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi 할아버지와 나의 시간, 2021 Oil on canvas
91 x 91 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
땅지기 by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi 땅지기, 2021 Acrylic gouache on canvas
16 x 22 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery
내일을 위한 연습 by Heo Chanmi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Heo Chanmi 내일을 위한 연습, 2021 Acrylic gouache on canvas
22 x 27.3 cm
Wooson Gallery Contact Gallery

Heo Chanmi Current Exhibitions

Heo Chanmi Represented By

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