Garden of Hesitation
Will spring come this year
To bloom or not to bloom
Will the bees madly love me
Will they come and gather honey
Has my scent been changed
Bewitching mosquitoes to come
So unbearable is the itchy feeling
I cannot hold my elegance anymore
The Chinese proverb “ 三思而後行 ” (think three times before action) refers to the importance of taking extra caution before committing. It helps us to make careful choices and prevent impulsive, hasty decisions. In Hong Kong , particularly, this applies to most traditional family teachings. Young people are often reminded that one must make and select the most risk-free path in life. To a certain extreme, any decision based on pure impulse or emotions are considered dangerous. Joey Leung's new exhibition explores precisely this aspect of our common logical thinking. As her paintings suggest, the hesitation before taking an action could lead to an ideal result, missed opportunity and even change the course of our lives.
Joey Leung's new paintings center on the moment of our hesitation. What are our considerations when we pause? Elements such as time, space and environment enhance our logical decisions which are then counteract by our fantasy and emotions. In Leung's work, garden serves as the perfect setting. There are apple trees, pavilion, daisy, lake, rabbits and fish – all elements with real and fantastic association. It is a dreamland that brings back memories of her last exhibition Cloudy Fairy-tales . Leung's selections of stereotypical and lovable motif have become her signature style. They embody beauty and odd, jolly and gloomy, innocence and subversion. They bring forth the darker underpinnings and a sense of sarcasm that matches the artist's humor. At the end, they are also visually enticing.
Looking at this exhibition is like having a stroll in a garden, encountering ordinary images with bizarre interpretation. The feeling is both delightful and insightful. While we are captured by the work's beauty, each closer look unveils more unusual narratives. Layer by layer, Leung's painting pushes our metaphoric imagination to the limit. The power of her work is, therefore, the undefined ending. Leung's paintings challenge our sensory, thoughts and common understanding at our moment of hesitation. Rather than thinking three times, we keep thinking about it as if we are trapped in our hesitation, reluctant to make a final decision.