Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Hollow Resonance, featuring new works by Stella Im Hultberg. Born in South Korea and now based in Portland, OR, Hultberg’s career began in industrial design. A self-taught painter, she has also worked in sculpture, creating objects based on motifs explored in her two-dimensional works. Hultberg’s mixed-media practice includes drawings and paintings in ink, watercolor, and oils on paper, wood, and canvas. Playing with varying qualities of opacity and translucency, in her application and interaction of these mediums, she creates works that vary in tone from dreamy and ethereal to bold and delineated.
Hultberg’s lyrical depictions of women combine decorative elements and graphic patterns, melding the figurative with the illustrative and a looser more painterly component. Ever present, this tension between the gestural and the controlled describe space in her dynamic compositions. Her palettes tend towards the monochromatic, moody and dark, but are punctuated by moments of contrast and vibrancy.
Her mannered figurative style, both elegant and selectively awkward, is at times reminiscent of early 20th century artists like Egon Schiele, Aubrey Beardsley or Gustav Klimt. Though beautiful, her figures are strangely displaced, subtly distorted, and at times melancholically encumbered with ornamentation, as seen in a recent series in which her nudes are laden with heavy blooms. Darkly beautiful, Hultberg’s feminine imaginary is an ambiguous terrain of melancholic desire.