Young Il-Ahn at Kavi Gupta, Chicago | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Young Il-Ahn at Kavi Gupta, Chicago

“Water BLR 16,” 2016, by Young-il-Ahn (1934, Korea), Oil on canvas, 199 x 296 cm, Kavi Gupta
(Courtesy: Kavi Gupta)

Opening this summer is an exhibition of Young Il-Ahn’s works in the United States. The solo exhibition will be showcased by Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago. Il-Ahn’s distinctive works will be on show from July 14, 2018.

Young-Il Ahn’s most famous paintings belong to his “Water” series. They are associated with ‘Dansaekhwa,’ an aesthetic position specific to Korea, which expresses natural processes through a monochromatic palette. As a Korean-born painter working in the US, Ahn is unique among ‘Dansaekhwa’ artists.

The son of an artist, Ahn began painting as soon as he could hold a brush. His exceptional natural ability led him to be considered a prodigy, and he was given his first solo exhibition in Tokyo at age six. He eventually earned his Bachelor of Art degree from Seoul National University, and shortly afterward, began his professional exhibition career. His first US group exhibition was in New York, in 1957. Two years later, Ahn had his first US solo exhibition — a moment that highlights a special connection he has with Chicago history.

That connection concerns the Hull House, a south side organization run by humanist reformers focused on equality and justice. The group offered free arts and crafts classes for many decades. Countless working class Chicago artists in the early and mid-20th century credited the Hull House with their education. The artist had his first US solo exhibition in the Hull House Gallery in 1959. In 1966, he moved permanently to the US, settling first in New York, and soon afterward moving to Los Angeles, where he still lives and works today. His mature work is heavily influenced by California light and beach culture. His daily interaction with the sea is the primary inspiration for his “Water” series, which he has been pursuing for three decades. 

The exhibition will be on view from July 14 through August 25, 2018, at Kavi Gupta, 219 N Elizabeth St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.