Texts: writings about Kumi

Mark Dimunation, Curator of Rare Books, Library of Congress

Kumi Korf’s artists’ books are not only concerned with structure, but also with printmaking and the relationship of illustration to text. They are extremely complicated, very rich. I feel they are good representations of a certain kind of work that’s being done in America. So that’s why her particular books have been added to the Library of Congress.

Her books have interesting elements of construction, questioning how a book operates, but more importantly and I think most expressively of Kumi is the intense quality of the prints. They are both an important aspect of her Japanese background, but they’re being done in a very modern American way. Her prints tell the story, but they also move you through the book. And because many of her prints are large, and broken up, they have an abstract level to them that reads as a very modern American book. They document the Book Arts movement in America on many different levels.

Nancy Green, Ithaca, NY

This intrinsic feeling of magic suffuses all of Kumi Korf’s artwork, whether a print, a mixed-media collage, an artist’s book, or a sculptural piece. Paper is both her matrix and her medium, and in her hands it comes alive as she moves and molds it to her bidding, often into intricate three-dimensional tableaux, mysterious and enticing, or in books that are fanciful in appearance yet thought-provoking in text. Both artist and craftswoman, she creates art that is beautiful to look at and challenging in content. [more...pdf]

Judith Reynolds, Durango, CO

This is a beautiful effervescent world. So delicate are the colors, so luminous the ground on which layers float, if you sneeze, everything might blow away. And then there is Korf’s contrasting boldnes; big, forceful brushstrokes, the odd mysterious shapes hovering in corners, or crisp cut abstract birds.

It’s the combination of all these things that gives Korf’s universe its blend of the East-West streams that flow through her whole life.

Fundamentally an abstract artist, Korf grounds every stroke and color choice in two rivers: the ancient tradition of Japanese art and American Modernism. When Korf puts two very different panels side by side, she’s looking for fresh insights. These unusual juxtapositions and the grid format make her every bit of the contemporary artist she is. It’s a remarkable alchemy made more potent by Korf’s sense of color and her extraordinary luminosity. [...more...]

Nancy Geyer, Ithaca, NY

...Korf's prints tend to pull you in. In "Blossomy," one of the smaller intaglios at the Upstairs, one finds oneself nose-close to the blossoming process itself. You can almost see the energy in an opening flower. As for the larger works on akatogashi paper - "Water Lily Pond," for example, in which transparent water skims over pebbles - you might step back to take it all in, but you're never far from the water's luminous surface. "Surface" might be the wrong word: these works seem to eliminate such boundaries. [...more...pdf]