|Hwang Kyu-Baik was born in Busan in 1932 and moved to France in 1968. After his settlement in 1970 in New York, the heartland of contemporary art, he started to commit himself to the mastering of mezzotint techniques, one of intaglio printmaking processes. By internalizing and modernizing the traditional medium of mezzotint Hwang succeeded in shaping his own unique style. This has led to the acquisition of his works by major museums throughout the world for their collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Albertina.
As in a poem written in unequivocally selected words and balanced with cadence, everyday objects and scenery rendered in Hwang’s work are metaphorically juxtaposed and again recasted within the picture plane. Along the way, we see the secretive dialogues between ordinary living things and inanimate objects that are in our surroundings and experience the eschewed memories come into the present.
In 2000 Hwang returned to Korea, ending his over thirty-year residence in foreign lands. He explored new artistic challenge in his homeland. The artist, who once again picked up paint brushes at his age of seventy, navigated to find ways to express the subject matters he dealt with in his prints. Hwang's passion for studying painting was even more stimulated by his trip to Italy which had been both the source of his inspiration and the object of his aspiration.
The balance between sensitive intuition and in-depth insight can be aptly used to describe Hwang's paintings made in the last ten years and the artist himself. Meticulous hands that once engraved 'poem seen with the eyes' on cold copperplates at his studio in Soho, New York might have lost its edges, yet one in front of his works is engulfed with Hwang Kyu-Baik's keen gaze toward the world of human consciousness of existence into the fundamental questions of life.