|THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and what makes art happen!|
Pretty boys kill Roselina Hung — not just figuratively, but almost literally as her meticulous drawings of hundreds of “pretty boys” caused her a crippling wrist injury that put her out of the art game for a few months following her show at Gallery Fukai earlier this year. She’s bounced back with a vengeance since then, most notably seeing her print, Love Is Touching Souls, released as an artist edition by Wil Aballe Art Projects this Saturday.
Roselina was kind enough to invite me over to her studio on Burrard Street to conduct this interview. It was a complete surprise of a space, opening up Narnia-like out of a long, bleak corridor that also served as a thoroughfare for a print shop and massage parlour. Sitting at her impeccably tidy desk, she spoke about her work with a mellow charm, honing into the reasons behind the continued resonance of Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights just as easily as she would dissolve into laughter telling stories about high school matchmakers. Her sophisticated, self-described “mash-up” aesthetic is one that pinpoints the beauty and earnestness in how we form our own mythologies.
Vancouver Is Awesome: What was the impetus behind ‘Pretty Boys Kill Me’?
Roselina Hung: The wallpaper installation was probably the first idea that I had for the project, because I had seen Charles Gibson’s “Gibson Girls”, which were drawings of girls’ faces that personified his idea of the perfect feminine beauty. They were turned into a wallpaper that I guess you could buy back then called “Wallpaper for a Bachelor’s Apartment”. I saw that, and wanted to flip the idea into portraying men’s faces and an ideal male beauty.
I was considering using print to create this work, but I’ve always been into drawing and painting and I found it more interesting to actually try to draw like a mechanical reproduction. It was fun to try and do the drawings and see how perfect they could get, though it would always get weird at the end. I started from the top right and did each face in full, one by one, instead of doing the whole drawing all together.
[As the drawing progressed,] the faces ended up looking more cartoon-like and a bit off, I guess, with less details than the first few — they lost their individual identities and became more cookie-cutter like towards the end.
VIA: It was interesting to see the contrast between that digital ‘perfection’ and the inherent flaws in your repetitive drawings. I thought about the painter Margaret Kilgallen, and how she would say that, while she was striving for perfection, she would end up liking the areas which she could never get perfect the most.
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