Posted by Camille Nordgren on

May 30 - June 30, 2024

Artist Reception:

Saturday, June 1, 2024 3-5 pm


Hyojin Um's creativity is a deeply personal journey, one that is rooted in her search for solace and peace of mind. Her artistic journey began as a means of coping with insomnia and anxiety, utilizing the power of painting to immerse herself in moments of joy and peace. In her own words, painting allowed her to experience life's beauty in a more profound way, amplifying the emotions that came with it.


Um's commitment to realism is a testament to her love for the world around her, her art a reflection of the unique beauty she finds in nature, people, and everyday life. Her deep affection for her subjects is palpable in her work, capturing their intricate details with a painterly finesse that exudes a sense of intimacy and tenderness.


In her current exhibition, Hyojin Um presents two series of works that highlight her ongoing exploration of the human experience and its relationship with nature. The figurative works with nature showcase her fascination with the intricate interplay between humans and the natural world, her compositions imbued with a sense of unrivaled beauty and tranquility. Her Asleep series, on the other hand, captures the essence of rest and trust, evoking a sense of blissful serenity and comfort.


Through her art, Um channels her experiences and emotions, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the world as she sees it—vibrant, beautiful, and full of wonder. Her work is a testament to the transformative power of art, its ability to heal, inspire, and connect us to the world around us. Hyojin Um's exhibition is an expression of her boundless creativity and unwavering commitment to finding peace and beauty in the world around us.



Artist Statement 

I was drawn to painting because, accidentally, it helped me overcome serious insomnia and anxiety resulting from my tumultuous childhood. Paradoxically, because of that, joyful or peaceful moments in life felt amplified. I developed a habit of taking photos or videos of these moments, and those became the subjects of my paintings. And when I painted regularly, I could sleep more and be in the flow of painting instead of being anxious. 


I try to express my deep affection for the subject, and the energy I feel from them. I am drawn to realistic art because it feels as if I am expressing my adoration by focusing on the unique details of the subjects, whether it be a person or nature. I also enjoy the process of feeling the energy from the image while painting different subjects. For example, when I was painting the ripples, my mind was full of the repetitive motion of the water. When I was painting a person, related memories came to mind and I could feel the senses that the person would feel in that specific scene.


Painting takes me so close to the subjects that I feel like I am touching or sensing the actual subjects. I hope this liveliness radiates to the viewer.

Current work for the exhibition 

I painted the starters of two series I am working on in this exhibit, which are figurative works with nature in the Bellingham area and people sleeping. 


I used to spend long hours gazing at nature in the Bellingham area alone and enjoyed feeling connected to it. Interacting with nature without the barrier of clothes was such a freeing, yet intimate experience that I have not felt before. I am excited to convey my appreciation for different parts of nature and the innocence of these encounters of the person. 


For the Asleep series, as a long-time insomniac, I have collected pictures of different people sleeping for many years as a longing for a peaceful sleep. Later, I realized that the sleeper letting the observer be present while they are asleep implied the trust between the two parties. I tried to convey blissful sleep and the comfort that comes from the bond


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Exhibit Artwork