Jae Hoon Lee, Tilting The Horizon
Visions, Level 9, 10 Lorne St
Until July 11
Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples
Jae Hoon Lee’s latest exhibition at Visions is of work he produced as the Artist in Residence at the Tylee Cottage in Whanganui and the works in the show use the landscapes of the Whanganui area
The works are focussed on the landscape, seeing it from new perspectives as a physical entity as well as the its connections with mythology, history and the imagination.
His work often features multiple images which are manipulated and combined to create work which brings together the real world and a surreal version, in which the study of the natural world including geology, atmospheric effects, are examined,
There is an enigmatic quality to these works, full of ambiguity and visual invention along with the constant play between reality and fabrication, between deception and objectivity.
“Waterfall – Cave ($7000) presents an image of a mountain resembling Taranaki / Egmont which is framed by the opening of a cave and includes a waterfall.
The work connects with the various depictions of the mountain from Heaphy to Perkins where the image is not just of the mountain itself but also providing a mythic and symbolic status. It has an ethereal quality reminiscent of scenes from Lars van Trier’s film Melancholia with its apocalyptic atmosphere.
With “Lightning – Sea Storm” ($15,000) the artist’s depiction of storm clouds and lighting captures the power and beauty of nature the extravagant of the image could function as the background setting for a Baroque version of the Last Judgement.
In “Sunset Kai Iwi” ($15,000) the artist has employed a drone to produce an elevated view of the coast south from Whanganui with a distant view of Mt Egmont reminiscent of the photographs of Laurence Aberhart. The birds eye view which shows the sun slipping below the horizon is engaging both for the drama of the landscape as well as its technical cleverness.
“Sunset – Whanganui” ($11,000) is lightly connected to the landscape with a church spire and a telegraph pole just visible below a massive, evening sunlit cloud. The cloud itself is obviously manipulated as though the photographers has stretched it out making it into a tortured mushroom cloud shape.
“Virginia Lake” ($12,500) which is a high view of five lakes is presumably some sort of cut and paste assemblage made up from Whanganui’s single Virginia Lake. As with the previous three images Lee has created a new environment.
In all these works he has not merely “tilted the horizon”, he has reset it relocated it presenting us with images which are both recognisable and disorientating.