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8 JUNE- 1 JULY 2023

PV WED 7 JUNE 6.30-8.30pm

Secret Gardens  | Ana Benavides | Beatrice Hasell - McCosh | Edward Hongyi Jia | Holly Mills | Margaret R Thompson | Minyoung Kim | Yiwei Xu

8 June - 1 July 2023

PV Wednesday 7 June 6.30 - 8.30 pm

Presented in collaboration with Matilda Liu

Botanical motifs and mark-making are often closely linked as symbolic languages through which painters make sense of the natural world and explore interconnectedness. By interpreting and understanding naturally occurring patterns, movements, and designs in the universe, artists frequently draw from nature ways to construct their own visual environments and systems of knowledge. 


The Voynich Manuscript exemplifies the convergence of these elements in the creation of an original visual and philosophical system. Discovered in 1992 by rare books dealer Wilfred Voynich, the Voynich Manuscript is a 15th-century book comprised of illustrations of imaginary plants, flowers, astrological charts, and an undeciphered text. Despite its beauty, imagination, and intricacy, the manuscript's purpose and translation remain elusive, posing a critical question about the role of all art as individualistic scripts of each and every artists’ personal experience and creative vision. By bridging thought and form, seemingly nonsensical marks and haphazard shapes can develop into new systems of meaning, with an inherent order independent of and irrelevant to external legibility. 


As each generation of artists challenges the boundaries of mark-making and imagination, the notion of artists' ownership of their marks and symbols finds concise recognition in art critic Kirk Varnedoe's defense of Cy Twombly:


"One could say that any child could make a drawing like Twombly only in the sense that any fool with a hammer could fragment sculptures as Rodin did, or any house painter could spatter paint as well as Pollock. In none of these cases would it be true. In each case, the art lies not so much in the finesse of the individual mark, but in the orchestration of a previously uncodified set of personal 'rules' about where to act and where not, how far to go and when to stop, in such a way that the cumulative courtship of seeming chaos defines an original, hybrid kind of order, which in turn illuminates a complex sense of human experience not voiced or left marginal in previous art."


Using the Voynich Manuscript and Varnedoe's text as a starting point, this group exhibition brings together seven emerging painters whose practices engage with botanical motifs and mark-making processes to create their own worlds. Titled 'Secret Gardens’, the show examines how each artist, through a unique system of gestural strokes and material alchemy, manifests the connections between the earthly and astral, the inner and the outer, and the natural and the fantastical. Featuring both abstract and figurative approaches, these artists find in their individual embrace of chaos and botanical imagination an original form of order—a secret garden to which only they hold the keys.

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Beatrice Hasell- McCosh, SAD, 2023, Oil on canvas, 212 x 152 cm 


Ana Benavides, The Dreams We Left Behind ( Los Suenos qui Dejamos), 2023, Oil, acrylic, marble powder, ribbons and oil pastel on canvas,  120 x 100cm

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Margaret R Thompson, Under A Sheltering Sky, 2023, Oil and wax on canvas, 61 x 45 cm

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Edward Hongyi Jia,  Fragment I, 2023, Oil on canvas, 160 x 150cm

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Holly Mills, Firework, 2022, Acrylic, pigment, egg tempera and oil gesso'd board, 17 x 22 cm

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Minyoung Kim, Stolen Flower, 2023 Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 50 x 50 cm

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