Have you noticed how your mind naturally fills in the gaps when you’re trying to recall memories and dreams? Visual memory allows us to remember an image long enough for it to affect the following image or thought. This process derives from the theory of Persistence of Vision, also the name and inspiration for Seonna Hong's collection of new works, now at LeBasse Projects. Of course, this theory is more connected to the practice of film and how our visual memory allows us to seam together images to produce the illusion of movement. Seonna Hong interprets this theory by exploring human perception and creating remarkable worlds, having the hallucinatory qualities of a dream.
Within her paintings small girls live among leafless frail trees, tranquil bears, the occasional zebra, and multicolored waves of thick brushstrokes unraveling from the landscape onto the foreground. The settings throughout the artist's work convey narratives dealing with curiosity, solitude, forgetting the past, and looking onto the future. Hong's pieces combine reality with the unnatural, resulting in images or thoughts that seem to still be in the process of being remembered. “The Disappearing Act" is a painting which alludes to a child's innate desire to hide or disappear for others to find her. This playfulness is then projected onto the one sculpture in her collection that evokes childhood memories and stimulates an urge to crawl into the cave-like structure for a game of hide-and-seek. Also in Hong’s collection are stenciled messages on wood, such as “I love you the most infinity end of story”, “Let’s pretend this never happened”, and “We were equally nervous”, allowing the viewer to relive the intensity of these exclamations through their own memories. In most of her paintings, it is difficult to make out where the landscape and foreground begin or end, but it is peculiar how none of the girls are disturbed by the colorful chaos, rather they are coexisting with it and allowing it to do as it pleases. Hong has opened up a world of wonder for us to relate to, and just as the girls in her paintings, we often don't notice when our mind is at work filling in the gaps, but we do realize when those memories become unforgettable.
Words and images by Jessica Portillo