Art & Culture feature – This latest series of photographic works marks a distinct evolution in Hatgi Sink’s work. Both sumptuous and disruptive her images indulge in excess while indicating that not all is well in paradise. Referring to a line by the lyric poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, A Tented Sky presents a captive world, where femininity and nature are caught in a cycle of desire.
The stage is set to resemble familiar still life depictions of youth, fragility and beauty. However the objects of attraction find themselves struggling against their roles in this exploitative fantasy. Familiar metaphors comparing supplicated feminine sexuality and a natural commodities, such as ripe fruit, fresh meat and raw honey are presented in such suffocating abundance that the expected stoicism of the image’s subjects is shaken. Jarred into awareness of their own implicated position, the women in Hatgi Sink’s images express various stages of reaction within a voyeuristic frame they cannot seem to escape.
As in the poem Renascence from which the title is drawn, within Hatgi Sink’s A Tented Sky, the protagonists wrestle with their own awakening. Some of the models attempt to dismantle the signs surrounding them, tearing, ripping and crushing these natural objects controlling their image. Others seem to seek escape through darker self inflicted means. However, like Millay’s first person narrator, a number of these young women appear to eventually embrace or succumb to their fate, consumed by a male-dominated fantasy. Perhaps as Eve eating the apple, newfound awareness has also brought with it self-consciousness. After the first bite there is clearly no return to subjugated ignorance, nor a direct path towards liberation. The resulting ambivalence of this provocative collection of images may prove the most unsettling vision of all.