The Whimsy of Seonna Hong's Expressive Landscapes

Hashimoto Contemporary
Oct 26, 2016 10:59PM

Seonna Hong at Hashimoto Contemporary | Photo courtesy of Shaun Roberts

Seonna Hong invites the viewer into her imagined landscapes to explore alongside the people and animals that populate her paintings. At once gestural and figurative, each painting offers a glimpse into an alternate universe filled with brightly colored geographic forms, flora, fauna, and inquisitive figures. Based in Los Angeles, Hong draws inspiration from her home tucked away in the hills, "pollution pink" LA sunsets and a child-like whimsy. "In Our Nature," the artist's first solo exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary, is on view until October 29th, 2016. 

The figurative and literal grounding of Hong's landscapes lay in the geode-like boulders and arching portals, which are prominent throughout "In Our Nature.Hong uses sweeping, bold brushstrokes and delicately rendered details to create her latest body of work. Intimately scaled, the work invites the viewer into her beatific environments. 

"Peaking into the room" of abstraction and minimalism, Hong elaborated on the development of her work in a recent interview with Juxtapoz Magazine. Each of the new works has an increased awareness of economy of line and the beauty of simplicity. Hong draws inspiration from "the perspective of a child," her own childhood memories and those of her daughter's ongoing experience, allowing her to create in a manner that is "unfiltered and without self consciousness." This unfettered imagination is apparent in Hong's explorative figures, roaming the canvases in search of what lies beyond the colorful plateaus and plains. 

The artist's mastery of creating dimensional space with varying soft washes, saturated brushstrokes, sharply detailed natural elements, and geometric collaged shapes on vast colored plains invites you in to explore alongside the children that populate her work. Utilizing elements from other paintings, Hong collages excised shapes from other works into their own compositions.

Installation view of Seonna Hong's solo show "In Our Nature | Photo courtesy of Shaun Roberts

Continuing to explore the use of found materials, Hong has created a collection of vignettes and windows into her whimsical world with a series of work on paint samples. Succulents and bare trees nestled amongst marbled water and rocks serve as the playground and natural environment for children, bears, and coyotes. Playing off of the descriptive color names, Hong has created snapshots into her playful, yet contemplative world.

Seonna Hong's "In Our Nature" is on view at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco until October 29, 2016.

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