Zora Mann, Nectar Hive (6), 2022; Oil and acrylic on canvas; 170 × 110 × 4 cm
As if enveloped by cellular membranes built out of the soft sheen of acrylics and the transparency of oil, the six works in this series become the setting for the psychic world of Zora Mann’s exhibition, Nectar Hive. Although deeply personal, they have been distorted through the gaze of compounding, kaleidoscopic prisms that pollinate the mind with subconscious impressions.
In her paintings, the artist creates a scenery of urbanesque and honeycomb structures that form a complex network of origin and memories. Objects of daily life (spoons, plantlife, clouds) meet looser patterns (waves, spots, chevron) to complicate the perspective of where the viewer stands in relation to the painting and to the artist’s psyche. Through a skillful and experimental approach, these paintings also reveal transparent layers that appear to blush before the viewer’s eyes. It is through this technique that a playful distance is created, beckoning the viewer closer.
Inside this imagined world, the geometry of the honeycomb plays a fundamental role in the creation of the lives of bees, but also to knowledge, becoming a gateway into more complex understandings of the human brain. Research shows how bees communicate information through dance, a process which can be used as a model for how neurons transmit electrical chemical discharge. This hive-mind motions towards the artist’s own experience, as imagery of both internal and external influences tessellate between the two-dimensional architecture of Mann’s paintings.
Unlike other works by the artist, these paintings were made intuitively, giving up control by abandoning the planned process.