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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 16, 2003

Impossible conflicts in women's lives examined

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Critic

 •  'inscrutable equations for growth'

An installation by Diana

Nicholette Jeon

Through March 28

9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays 1- 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Gallery on the Pali

2500 Pali Highway

In a thought-provoking, individually untitled and highly personal mixed-media installation, Diana Nicholette Jeon poses a problem: How can women solve the post-modern fragmentation they experience in their attempts to fulfill the conflicting ideals and roles expected of them in society?

She addresses this question using paper, wood, clothes, twine and clothesline, digital prints, wine and coffee stains, scanned graffiti from eyeliner and lipstick and digital sound.

As an art student, wife and mother, Jeon realized that women's roles (being a good wife, mother, housekeeper, artist, student and friend) become compartmentalized.

"These ideals and these issues conflict with each other," says Jeon, "because it is impossible to do all of them. You can only trade them off. Basically, my life is an impossibility."

Jeon's installation employs her own experiences and frustrations with ideals presented by the media, men and her female socialization processes as a first-generation Greek American.

Moving windows made of paper with coffee- and wine-stained egg shapes tentatively sway, suspended by twine, to invite us to peek at the digital art images behind them. The images are pictorial fragments of Jeon's multitasked life that burst with extremes in saturated color — sometimes punctuated by graffiti. Intaglio prints, photographs (of her son having a tantrum, her husband and herself) that coexist in digitally manipulated compositions.

The figures become a shadowy presence amidst the real underwear, lingerie and shirts that hang on the clothesline strung above the digital art works and paper stained windows.

Can men relate to this exhibit? Bruce Behnke, a fellow digital artist, says, "I find it tremendously provocative and stimulating. I absolutely have a sense of looking at the female perspective here. It is like putting up these lenses or filters before your own eyes as you're looking at her work. Her use of color stimulates you into looking at the images not as images but as jolts because the colors are so vibrant."

The sound installation creates a further haunting effect. Jeon created it by transferring her images to a software program that turned the pixels into sound files that she further manipulated.

Jeon may not be able to figure out the inscrutable equation that will balance her life but she's found one right answer in her ability to communicate and express herself creatively.