Somewhere Beyond the Sea: Kim Bohie at The Modern Institute, Glasgow

Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2024, colour on canvas (9)
Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2024, colour on canvas

Kim Bohie ‘Beyond’

Mon - Fri 10:00 - 18:00, Sat 12:00 - 17:00

From: 6 Jun 2024

To: 5 Sep 2024

The Modern Institute
14—20 Osborne Street
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G1 5HU

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Kim Bohie is a South Korean painter who portrays the natural world around her home area, on Jeju Island to the south of the Korean mainland, with a distinct sense of place. Bohie has exhibited extensively in Korea, China and Japan, and her first solo exhibition in Europe, Beyond, is now on show at The Modern Institute in Glasgow, mounted as part of the programme of Glasgow International 2024 and happily continuing until 5th September.

Kim Bohie, 'Beyond' exhibition at The Modern Institute
Kim Bohie, ‘Beyond’ exhibition at The Modern Institute

The exhibition’s title refers to the idea of the viewer looking beyond themselves to contemplate the natural world. Bohie’s views and details are carefully framed, evoking a calmness and a quiet atmosphere in her tropical landscapes, with colourful flowers and views to the sea beyond. There are some close-up single plant studies too, with a freshness to the colour palette evident in all her work.

Kim Bohie was born in 1952 and has been creating since the 1970s, but the works featured at the Modern Institute are a selection from two of her latest ongoing series of paintings, Towards and Seeds, mostly from 2023 and 2024.

Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2019, colour on canvas
Kim Bohie, ‘Towards’, 2019, colour on canvas

In Towards, 2019, Washingtonian palms in Kim Bohie’s garden are beautifully depicted in detail in a ‘wide-angle’ three-panel work occupying one wall.

Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2024, colour on canvas (9)
Kim Bohie, ‘Towards’, 2024, colour on canvas
Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2024, colour on canvas (4)
Kim Bohie, ‘Towards’, 2024, colour on canvas

Also from the Towards series, there are two seascapes depicting only an expanse of ocean. There is a luminous quality to these paintings, with translucency and skilful rendering of rippling waters, and a shimmer on an ocean of blues and greens. In one of the seascapes the only further elements are glowing points of light indicating the presence of boats at a distance out to sea – another atmospheric scene that takes the viewer ‘beyond’ the surface of the painting.

Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2023, colour on canvas`Kim Bohie, 'Towards', 2023, colour on canvas
Kim Bohie, ‘Towards’, 2023, colour on canvas

The artist’s black Labrador Retriever, Leo, features prominently in recent paintings and his character and demeanour are skilfully portrayed with humour and playfulness. The artist talks about experiencing views the way that Leo sees them, and certainly in the work Towards, 2023, you feel as entirely at home as Leo, asleep on a garden path.

Kim Bohie, 'The Seeds', 2022, colour on FRP, in exhibition at The Modern Institute
Kim Bohie, ‘The Seeds’, 2022, colour on fibreglass reinforced plastic, in exhibition at The Modern Institute

Accompanying the ten paintings on show is The Seeds, 2020, a three-dimensional work in painted fibreglass reinforced plastic. Its presence in the centre of the floor space further emphasises thematically that the works are based in nature, and evokes the same still calmness as Bohie’s paintings. 

Bohie has said, ‘I want those who see my works to feel joy and happiness from life and nature.’ Seeing these works first-hand in this daylight-filled bright white gallery space is highly recommended, to stand for a while in front of these sea and garden views and enjoy the soothing experience of Kim Bohie’s masterful works.

The artist’s website is at

With many thanks to Gordon Reid for this review.

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