The Wild and The Tame
On view June 11, 2022 through September 3, 2022
The relationship between humans and nature becomes increasingly poignant as we find ourselves entrenched in the age of extreme human impact on the Earth. Whilst the negative connotations of this period are apparent through climate change and the widespread impacts of human intervention, we rely on the magic and connection to the wild for restorative energy much in the same way we look to art. The Wild and the Tame at Denny Dimin Hong Kong is a group exhibition with six artists who, through their work, observe nature, creating new lines of inquiry into human interaction with the natural world.
Dana Sherwood, born 1977 in New York, is a multimedia artist, whose ink and watercolor piece Pavilion of the Wild and the Tame, 2016 lends its title to the exhibition. As part of the exhibition, we will also be showing her video piece Sight Equus Mongolia, 2019. As an artist Sherwood is known for her diverse practice in exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world in order to understand culture and behavior in a changing environment. In her work, nature, often in the form of non-human animals, plays a complex role as both subject and collaborator. Sherwood relies upon her own style of magical realism to portray contact between human and non-human animals as a tool to understand culture and behavior and more importantly to recognize the interconnectedness of our ecosystem.
Paula Wilson, born 1975 in Chicago, had work featured in Denny Dimin, Hong Kong’s inaugural exhibition, Lunarian. Throughout her practice, insects, flora and fauna, drawn from the surrounding environment of her studio in New Mexico, interact with her human subjects. Inspired by actual and imagined histories, she creates her own brand of folklore and mysticism where the wild and the tame collide. In her piece Catching the Night, 2021, featured in the exhibition, a female figure holds up a large blanket which acts as a backdrop to the moths and insects which come alive at night. The detailed close-up of one of the moths captured in the far right corner through the perceived lens of a mobile phone, throws into light a new era of human interaction with nature where technology allows for even more inquisitive and arguably intrusive exchange.
The artist L, born 1984 in Salt Lake City, Utah, is known for inserting alchemy and witchcraft into their practice. Their “spells” are collated “ingredients” taken from nature, such as earth and crystals married with various tokens of contemporary life which are imbued with a talisman quality: lightbulbs, beads or lighters, to name a few. They are interested in the metaphysical connection of objects which moves into the interconnectedness of humans and nature. The wild and the tame taken as the natural and manmade materials are encapsulated together in glass vessels becoming alchemic creations such as, Spell to dissolve the singularity and enlighten all humans, 2021.
Jessie Edelman, born 1986 in Milwaukee, uses the natural world as a source of inspiration to be observed and revered rather than an immersive environment. Her works include nature in the traditional mores of art history – as a place of beauty and iconography. Edelman uses her canvas as a place to create imagined spaces which pull from human ideals of a blue sky, full, leafy trees and plants as well as rich blooming flowers intense with color and saturation. In this context the natural wild is tamed and manipulated by the artist to manifest these desirable spaces.
Natalie Lo Lai Lai, born 1983 in Hong Kong, has a distinct practice, using video and installation as a means to interact with nature. Her video piece Voices from Nowhere, 2018, captures the unique magic of traditional farming practices where humans intersect with nature with the intent to control it and protect their livelihood. In this piece Lo Lai Lai was inspired by a coincidental encounter with a farmed fishpond in Yuen Long in Hong Kong. She looks at the impact of human intervention with the landscape for farming yet how in its own way this results in magical transformations from farm to plate. She writes, “The ecological system is a chain of desires, tied to the individual’s sensibilities wandering about in the depth of mysterious valleys”. Both the human intervention and consequential shifts in that area have an arcane quality where the fishing community and nature hold on to the secrets of the fishpond.
Greer Howland Smith, born 1981 in Chicago, has two artworks featured in the exhibition, Satellite, 2019 mixed media on paper, and Homeostasis, 2019 acrylic on canvas. These works highlight how the artist studies the ecosystems of plants and the cycles they go through. She uses this as a reference to a globalized sociopolitical status moving through decline and renewal paying attention to how technology has started to interfere with the natural world. By manipulating her visualizations of botanical life, Howland Smith looks to this outward interference on the natural world. She does this with layers of paint and graphic lines made from spray paint, oil pastel and ink. They alter, dissect and skew the botanical portraits which range from plant cells to actual plants. The artist finds beauty in these processes as she seeks to celebrate flora even through death and regeneration and alteration.