KwangHo Shin is an artist based in Yeongdeok, South Korea, who paints abstract portraits of human emotion. On massive canvases, Shin outlines the contours of a face before filling them in with thick, messy layers of oil and acrylic. As his process videos on YouTube demonstrate, he works from dark to light, allowing the paint to stream down and across the canvas before blending it out. The result is a series of “faceless” portraits, faces transformed into technicolored and monochromatic landscapes that exude a raw range of seemingly conflicting sensations: rage and sensitivity, fear and confidence, sadness and hope.
Shin’s intuitive, creative process—from blank canvas to storms of emotion—allows him to express the deep nuances of his subjects. As curator Myung-Jin You describes, “[The] complexity of human emotions, which is hard to be defined in one word, is left as momentary traces on the empty space, after the long agony of the artist’s inner side.” Following this, “the fear of blank space is collapsed, and [Shin’s] inner side’s fear and the ecstasy . . . coincide” (Source). The finished piece is a culmination of Shin’s energy that dissolves the facades of muscle and skin to reveal the textures of internal experience.