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Hello Darkness | Junko Go
July 16 - August 28
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In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic offered us one of life’s greatest encounters with darkness. All of our certainties were thrown into question; fear and darkness lurked in the back of our minds.
Dealing with darkness as a subject matter is a timely proposition. To me, these works have functioned as a cathartic visual diary, to get a sense of our being and our world. Rather than only being equipped live with more positivity, we need to have minds that are equipped to live with the complexity of life and open to the full range of what it means to be human.
The term ‘Hello Darkness’ is from the insightful lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. Listening to this song has been a strange experience for me, especially in the context of 2020/21. The song humorously expresses despair and existential angst. With a whimsical sense of looseness and spontaneity. My works represent darkness humorously and poetically despite the heaviness of the subject matter, just like the song did.
Duality has great influence upon my philosophical reflections. In Taoism, Yin and Yang are opposite forces, interdependent for each other. Assumedly wherever there is darkness, there is a space that can be filled with light. We have had an awful lot of the wrong kind of ‘so much’ lately, but when we look at what else is happening, we have so much to be thankful for at the same time. How much more than just ‘so much’ is all that much worth?
Junko Go, 2021
Hello Darkness marks a silver jubilee exhibition for Junko Go. As an artist who has exhibited annually since 1995 with solo exhibitions in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW, Junko’s career has reached what some might describe as the enviable status of an ‘established artist’. In keeping with this, her work has also reached an unhindered maturity backed by a robust conceptual resolve.
Born near Kyoto in 1955 Junko Go spent her formative years in Japan, but left in her late twenties when the thrill and excitement of a life in New York beckoned. It was there, as a young art student, that she was able to loosen the shackles of traditional Japanese teachings and develop her unique approach to narrative through mark-making, an approach which has prevailed throughout her career.
I have often thought of Junko’s works as philosophies more than paintings. Though they present as manifestations of whimsy, they instead explore dichotomies and express profound truths. Simple lines become shapes which are part of forms that leads to journeys – visual meanderings which juxtapose moments of great tenderness with existential anguish. But rather than compelling us to recoil from the ordeals of the human condition, Junko invites us to lean in, and listen.
It has been a great pleasure to represent Junko’s practice for the past ten years, as it is a terrific honour to present her 25th solo exhibition.
Marita Smith, 2021