Diana Nicholette Jeon: Nights As Inexorable As The Sea and NO KA HOME O KA HALE KAHIKO
Diane Nicholette Jeon has the unique ability to transform her visions, perceptions, and emotions into small stories that remain slightly out of reach. There are no beginnings or endings to these stories, but clues to salient memories and emotional experiences. Many of her projects pair images, and in the case of Nights As Inexorable As The Sea, the work is presented in small tin boxes that are intimate mementos of dreams and mysteries, worlds that exist in her nighttime wanderings. The boxes are magical, closed they keep these fleeting memories from escaping, only to be opened and remembered in the light of day.
We are also featuring a second project, NO KA HOME O KA HALE KAHIKO (Relics of a Vanishing Landscape). The work reveals moody expressions of place that speak the cultural and physical state of the land and its histories. In the 21st Century Hawai’i, development impacts the islands in profound ways, but for this project, Diana finds the spaces that have remained unchanged, places and plantations that are ghostly relics of other times, beautifully paired to extend the experience.
Diana’s photographs seem to be everywhere these days. Her current solo exhibitions include Disorder Gallery, Sydney AU (November 1-31, 2020)/Nights As Inexorable As The Sea, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland OR (October 1-November 31, 2020) Nights As Inexorable As The Sea, and group exhibitions, Kipaipai Fellows 2020, Kahilu Theatre Gallery, Waimea HI (September 26 – November 8, 2020)/No Ka Home O Ka Hale Kahiko – Relics of A Vanishing Landscape, curated by Andi Campognone, director Museum of Art and History, Landcaster CA and Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu, HI (September 6, 2019-TBD)/Curated works from the State Foundation’s Art in Public Places Collection) and her work was s just featured in BETA Developments in Photography, Issue 37, Oct. 2020.
Diana Nicholette Jeon is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Honolulu. She was awarded her BA in Studio Art at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 2003 and her MFA in Imaging and Digital Art by the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2006. From 2004 until 2013, Jeon worked as a college instructor; she taught in the New Media Arts program at KCC; the Expanded Arts program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa; and the Non-Toxic Printmaking program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.
Jeon’s internationally exhibited, award-winning work has been featured in Gente di Fotografia, SHOTS Magazine, Pf Magazine, The Art Photo Index, Your Daily Photo, The Huffington Post; several curated collections at Saatchi Art; Lens Culture. Her art has received four Hawaii SFCA Purchase Awards, the International Photo Award, 11th Julia Margaret Cameron Award, Pollux Award, and the Mobile Photo Award, among others. Her work is held in corporate, public and private collections nationally and internationally. Instagram: @diananicholettejeon/
Nights as Inexorable as the Sea
“Nights as Inexorable as the Sea” series considers the quirky and unpredictable nature of dreams and memories. Asleep – existing in that liminal space – I am confronted with situations that I can’t quite explain, often fraught with absurdities and illogical occurrences. I’ve always been amazed when friends recount intricate details and entire storylines of their dreams while mine remain in shards-minute fragments of what was. Was it really a dream, or was it a previously forgotten memory seeping through to my conscious mind? Due to the ephemeral nature of both memory and dreams, these images are in tins – to simulate the memory boxes in which people store their family photographs and mementos.
As the referents are ephemeral things, I have placed these images in tins – simulations of the old tins in which people stored photographs and mementos, a collection of visions they sorted through, sifted over and sometimes shared.
Original photographs, Epson Surecolor P800 pigment ink, Hahnemuhle Baryta FA paper, cold wax, archival Fomcor, adhesives, Altoids Tin Lids
NO KA HOME O KA HALE KAHIKO (Relics of a Vanishing Landscape)
Hawai’i has a cost of living comparable to mainland cities like SF or NYC, but income re-mains tied to low-paying tourism jobs. Multi-generation families reside in small homes and apartments and residents work multiple jobs. Youth leave for better opportunities else-where. The ‘paradise tax’ has become the ‘paradise paradox’ – you can live here but you can’t afford to enjoy it. We’ve lost our slower lifestyle and our aloha.
But after the loss of the plantation industry along the Hilo/Hamakua coast, much of the land remains as it has been for decades. Jobs are not plentiful but those there are support local infrastructure and resident services. Lush and green, it is akin romanticized throwback that many picture when they think of Hawai’i. There is open space with wild growth, a place left behind by time. With this imagery, I portray a sense of place and a sense of loss.
These images were shot using a variety of iPhones with plastic Holga lenses jerry-rigged to them.
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