While Kim Duck Yong's works typically illustrate traditional Korean motifs, by invoking an aura of a society that is strongly influenced by Confucian ideals of immaterialist philosophy, he also concurrently rebels against conventional mode of austere and regal aesthetics by adopting a premeditated, emblematic composition and medium to attest that his work does not merely represent humble, heartfelt motifs of trivial episodes but it, too, holds an attitude for experimentation and ideals embraced by contemporary critiques.
Humble in its manner of expression, the warmth of the wood offers a sweet smell of familiarity; a tender scent heightened with pale shimmer of pink and marine green-blue of mother-of-pearl. The nostalgic spell of his painting is released by the second-hand wood, using wood pieces from drawers, closet and tables that were handed down from previous generations to represent the past. By using a recycled medium, Kim transfers its history and duration of time through texture and grains of the wood and furthermore, employing Marcel Duchamp's influential 'ready made' approach to art-making. Redefining recycled wood as his canvas, Kim poetically carved a graceful figure, sitting within a squared frame, neatly tidying her hair by peering through the subtle indentation of a mirror positioned outside of her elaborate border. Utilizing wood as a material that is close to Mother Nature, Kim bestows life to this female with fine, circular grains that gives contour to her soft face. The textures contrast with the cool gleam of her garment, and her face eloquently retains poise and grace allegorizing the subtle spirit of Korean aesthetics. As Kim's work delivers an almost mundane essence of conventional Korean aesthetic, we are also constantly reminded of his simultaneous trials in overturning the preliminary assumption of its work as heavily traditional by subtly tweaking its composition into abstract structure and surprising us again with the overall definition of this seemingly flat portraiture as a three dimensional book.