"Nightswimming deserves a quiet night," sang Michael Stipe in my youth. Poetry that spoke to my tortured teenage soul with its reflection on days of innocence and growing up to understand the workings of the world. It's what I remember when I consider the latest body of work by Corn Shuk Mei Ho, influenced by late night swimming.
The idea apparently came during a visit to Lantau Island, Hong Kong, where, swimming far offshore one evening, she observed the many layers of darkness in the sky and the sea at night, unspoilt by artificial lights. This endless darkness with its subtly different shades of blackness provided the inspiration for the series, Night Swims.
"The characters in the paintings are depicted as though they are nocturnal creatures, their postures invoking feelings of isolation, solitude, uncertainty and fear," explains The Coningsby Gallery, where the artist will present her work this September. "Their emotions are mirrored by the reflections cast on the surface of the dark waters, drawing a line of correlation between water as a physical element and as a symbol for the depths of the human psyche."
Often psychological, Corn Shuk Mei Ho's artworks delve into deeper levels of human innermost states of mind. She creates atmospheric, melancholic drawings and paintings conjuring up feelings of dislocation. Her art documents her interest in the "lost and the found, what is a passing memory and what is synthesised as a trace in the landscape".
Night Swims by Corn Shuk Mei Ho will go on show at The Coningsby Gallery from 16 September and run until 22 September 2018.