Ken Gun Min: The Lost Paradise at MCA Denver

March 8 – May 26, 2024

For his first solo museum exhibition, Ken Gun Min focuses on one of the major throughlines in his practice: landscapes and the natural world. Featuring expansive paintings from the last six years, The Lost Paradise foregrounds Min’s use of real and imagined landscapes, through which he explores issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and immigrant experiences. In these works, Min creates new ecologies where dense, richly-textured compositions serve as metaphors for human experiences of desire, loss, and power. 

Born in Seoul, South Korea in 1976, Min studied Western painting technique and art history in Seoul before moving to California. Min often reckons with the cultural transition from South Korea to the United States through his painting practice, merging Western-style oil paints and Korean pearl pigments on raw canvas to depict prismatically colorful landscapes, sometimes with animals and figures. The paintings are often inspired by real events at sites in Los Angeles (where the artist resides), current events, and locations from the artist’s own memory and imagination. These lushly rendered scenes—frequently embellished with embroidery, beading, and found textiles—depict the natural world as an enigmatic place ripe with beauty and the sublime, but also with turmoil, melancholy, and contradiction.

March 5, 2024