Installation shots

Video Statement



Four You Gallery is delighted to present CLOAKED, an exhibition of gilded artworks by a group of young female painters. The exhibition will include works by Dannielle Hodson, Sara Lee, Jingwi Wang, So Young Kim, Leyla Pekmen, Cheong Yoon, and Lindsey Jean McLean.

To cloak, as a transitive verb, is to disguise: to cover with, or as if with, a cloak. Whilst the paintings in this exhibition are dense, confronting, and immediate, they are images of embellishment and consequential disguise. The works, more specifically their subjects, aren’t hiding, but there are elements of each painting that are in fact hidden. Embellishment in the form of grotesque gargoyle like figures, cacti spikes, colour camouflage and digitisation contribute to the visual noise which in such abundance vibrates through CLOAKED.

Dannielle Hodson’s laboured artworks accumulate to the point where she stops and asks, ‘have I spent too much time here, have I laboured too much over that form there?’ The answer? Often yes. At this point Hodson retracts, stripping paint and distinguished features, part revealing the veiled incongruous. Her illusive characters in the narrative paintings emerge from landscapes that suffocate. Much like Leyla Pekmen’s, they mimic the purpose of the canvas and perfectly frame the composed chronicle. Hodson’s portrait subjects also perform in the same way, holding turbulent tales within their molten faces.

With a similar feeling towards the absurd, Pekmen’s ‘Neverland’ manipulates nature by granting it human capabilities. Notice the arms of the trees warmly embracing their neighbours. The purple of the distant porous mountains, whilst inaccurate feels familiar; an image that a child might craft. The naïve appearance of Pekmen’s artworks is reminiscent of So Young Kim’s fragmented and playful compositions. Beginning their existence as sculptures, Kim takes the forms onto canvas through digital manipulation, drawing and acrylic painting to investigate them further.

Naivety and a chilling innocence resonate through the surreal portraits by Cheong Yoon. The features of her subjects are exaggerated in their form. Their eyes are large, dark, seeping voids. Yet warmth in the lightness, which Yoon skilfully depicts, is redeeming of the artwork’s darker undertones.

Sara Lee’s paintings possess similar digitised characteristics. Impressive is the skill both Lee and Kim demonstrate in forming such flatness on the canvas, the subjects appear just as they would if beaming through a screen. One must be cautious and not fall victim to the sickly sweet, wide-eyed subjects – like those of Cheong Yoon’s. Their fluorescent pinks, greens and yellows reverberate off the canvas, an intoxicating confusion veils reality. Lindsey Jean McLean’s incandescent colours defy despite the restricted positions her characters bear. They appear entangled ‘trapped in acts of concealment and destruction’ yet challenging, albeit with caution in the form of obscuring boas and fans, the oppressive canonical male gaze.

CLOAKED presents work from a group of probing artists curious about paint and its potential. Here, we see it used as a medium to shroud and congruently reveal. One must look beyond the immediate presentation of these works to understand their intent.