YOUNG JUNE LEW
19 MAR, 2004
Using a subdued palette of earthly hues, Korean-born painter Young June Lew continues her 'journey' series, an ongoing investigation of memory, time and identity, mining images from her own experience in order to exhume the fundamental elements of our contemporary life.Many of these new paintings feature a curiously powerful, distinct form: dressmakers' headless, limbless torsos, emanating perhaps from the artist's fearsome encounter with one as a child. These spare, solidly anatomical figures contrast strikingly with Lew's sumptuous, disembodied robe forms. Their appearance marks a new avenue for the series, as though through them Lew is now peeling away formal layers to reach a basic, unprescribed core of each of us human players all shuffling along life's mortal coil.Also of particular interest is a new self-portrait showing a centrally-placed dress figure whose single golden wing sprouts from behind the clothing, its mate conspicuously absent. The figure's left arm rests on a vessel. The image has a vaguely mythic poignancy - as though perhaps we are witnessing an Icarus who has pulled himself from the deep, once fallen but standing anew, wiser but undeterred. As exemplified in this tiny piece, scale also remains a remarkable aspect of Lew's painting. She demonstrates equal facility with monumental canvases as with much smaller, more intimate works.