One feels bathed in romance upon entering the demurely-lit townhouse on east 30th street. Escaping the bleak city streets, one enters a warmth only renderable by the love-abiding, soul-searching artist seated amongst her closest companions at the end of the Georgian walkway. As she embraces those who she says stimulate her inspiration, she is also surrounded by the fifty-five pieces that have inspired them in turn. A life’s work exhibition that seemingly depicts an authentically fluid life.
SunHe Hong has received her BFA degree in Fine Arts from Youngstown State University. She has earned her AAS degree in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She has studied the human form and its powers at The Art Students League of New York. She has trekked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. SunHe is an artist full of experience, and yet, refreshingly still searching for what it all means.
A single teardrop cascades from a halo-ed eye. Falling into the depths of a punctured pomegranate, two regal butterflies flank its open wound. The pale blue sky speckled with clouds of white, foregrounds the vivid red color of the fruit. As human hands cup the fertile fruit, the image offers a key. The symmetrical butterflies, the looming omniscient eye and the loving hands surround a symbolism of life, of birth and of fruitfulness. A Dali-inspired surrealism as the eye tearfully imparts its wisdom upon the youthful seeds of tomorrow. SunHe’s work displays a depth as coveted as the hands that hold the key.
The image of the butterfly reoccurs throughout SunHe’s collection as the regal, ephemeral creatures follow the artist and her unending, image-provoking thoughts. Whether the halo that surrounds her modern-day Madonnas or the phantasmal wings of a nymph-like body, the butterfly transforms as it cohesively connects SunHe’s various bare images.
“At this point in time one understand better where the artists images of women are born. Portraits and sketches of models are light and ephemeral as the butterflies that are on them and at the same time sensual and vital as it is the spirit that has created them,” Italian curator and art critic, Alberto Dambruoso, reflects on SunHe’s work.
As critics embrace SunHe’s celebration of the female form, the sensual nature of her work has been labelled a genre of ‘artistic eroticism’. The artist proves her work as fluid and indefinable as the lines which create her sensual bodies. For the female form in all its imperfect glory flows onto the canvas as an image extending the bounds of carnage and eroticism, but rather explores a realm of existential philosophies. Are we figurative? What defines us? Can there be a single definition? If it’s SunHe’s art, that’s a resounding no.
Her solo art exhibition, ‘Awakening’, at Pepela restaurant and lounge features the sum of an eight-year expressionistic journey. SunHe’s collection forces its viewers to escape a mind that is rigid. As her haloed, at times goddess-like subjects, embark on a mission of redefinition and fruitful repair, its honored viewers must lead a similar journey to find the spirit of life.
For SunHe believes the soul is what connects the raw, authentic and worthwhile relationships of this world.
Featured Image Courtesy of Sunhe Hong