Mother Earth Oasis
2010 by Honey Im
Gift Gallery, Vyner Street; until 22 October 2010
Honey Im’s show at Gift is like wandering through a strange enchanted forest; we are surrounded by canvases of trees, exotic scenes of faraway lands and the twisting tales of branches and foliage. These are Im’s Mother Earth Series. As a group of paintings they are tightly knitted together, immediately visually, in their palettes of deep and milky turquoises and violets. Yet it is the subjects that ultimately secure these common ties, as each painting features birds together with a shrunken, withered and white doll-like figure. Continually present, these strange creatures are consistent throughout the series, quietly and hauntingly reminiscent of death. In Mother Earth Oasis the birds hold the tiny figure in their beaks; lifeless, its limbs, its very being, dropped in its hanging emptiness, devoid of any trace of vitality. These figures are faceless, weightless, languid; held and pulled into motion only by others or gravity alone. These miniature bodies become symbolic and, when noticed, jar these paintings of fantastical natural beauty with their melancholic and unexplained presence. Im’s surroundings are beautiful, with much of her colour articulated through aboriginal inspired dots, which give the paintings a lustre with a surface that appears to ripple and glitter. In Mother Earth Oasis this suggested death is countered poignantly with the equally pure and white untouched buds of the tree. Perfect in their delicacy, these flowers are symbolic of life as the curl of their petals is crisp with energy, juxtaposing in their reaching for the sky.