Art exhibition ‘EAST MEETS WEST’ by Korean-Australian artist Sung Kyo Kim combines Chinese calligraphy with bright, pop-art imagery.

Sung’s richly coloured and textured paintings to be exhibited at New Farm’s Graydon Gallery in February aims to bridge Asian and Western cultures.

“’Nowadays, the Chinese language is very important as well as English and I hope that Australian viewers — including Chinese, Japanese and Koreans — will be inspired by my paintings, particularly the next generation. I want my art to be for Asian and Western people alike,” he says.

Sung lives and works in Brisbane, was born in the Republic of Korea and moved to Australia in 1988, with his influences including calligraphy, which he learnt from an early age and his interest in bright colour.

“My painting”, Sung says, “is based on Korean folk art including beautiful Chinese characters that are reinterpreted with a pop-art style.”

His art links to hyukpil, a genre of Korean folk painting called minhwa, dating back to the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220AD). Chinese characters are essentially ideograms of stories, and hyukpil transforms parts of the character to incorporate symbols which correspond to the character’s meaning.

Sung says the main point of his paintings in ‘EAST MEETS WEST’ are the meanings of the characters he uses. In one painting, for example, he incorporates a symbol that means ‘good luck’.

“The painting expresses the wish for good luck to an owner who is happy to hang it on the wall.

“I always feel happy with flowers, butterflies and fishes, especially when I look at my paintings in the early morning. Most East Asian people get the same feeling and I want to share this,” she says.

Sung Kyo Kim will showcase 24 brand new paintings in his ‘EAST MEETS WEST’ solo exhibition.

The solo exhibition will run from 20 February to 2 March 2014 between 10am and 6pm and by private request.