Everyone has heard the idiom that the body is a vessel, so how ingenious was it of Jee Hwang to use one of the most intimate objects in one’s home to express that sentiment. Desiring Uncertainty is a collection of paintings currently showing at Porter Contemporary, located at 548 West 28th Street. The show opened February 23; last Thursday Porter Contemporary hosted an artist talk with Jee Hwang so viewers could hear firsthand what inspired her to create these works.
Jee Hwang used a series of bathtubs as well as a crate; bag and even herself face down in a bed of grass to express desire, and its relationship to the state of presence and absence. A bath at the end of the day seems to be the cure all for the world’s ills. We draw a bath, soak, relax, wash away insecurities and pressures and utilize the water to restore us. Then we release the water and do the same thing the next day. While walking through the exhibit, I could feel the longing, the languishing for something to happen, but what that something is hasn’t been discovered. The vivid detail of Hwang’s works made these cold, stationary items pop with verve, becoming stimulating to look at. It is amazing how the bathtubs express the essence of desire as well as the loneliness that can come with unrequited desire and the changes that it can take over time. I found her works to be remarkably introspective and alluring.
Artist Jee Hwang was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, before migrating to Maryland in 2003. She graduated from Pratt Institute with a MFA degree in 2009 and received a partial scholarship to the Vermont studio program in 2010. Her first solo show was at A.I.R. Gallery as the 2009-2010 A.I.R. Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship Artist. Desiring Uncertainty will be on exhibition at Porter Contemporary until March 31. If you can, I highly suggest taking a peek before it ends.
Photos courtesy of Porter Contemporary