A tangle of limbs, a faggoted heart, a lusciousness of pink flesh and lustrous satin folds. Forestalling the sensual submission, the inevitable seduction, an enduringly ambiguous narrative intercedes to subvert and confound. Hands are presented in an attitude of almost novitiate-like supplication. Bound. There is the zig and zag of humble haberdashery, of trimming as decoration/restraint. The import is contradictory, for these homely fetters are difficult to take seriously - jaunty ricrac, the bobble braid - mocked artefact of a previous era. Yet as ever with a Deborah Paauwe image, there is a layering of increasingly overt, narrative possibilities. Perhaps their very modesty, the association with comfort and domesticity renders these restraints all the more ominous. Moreover the word "bindings" has a particular cultural resonance for this artist, given that her mother is Chinese. Imperfections are subtle - a scar, a bloody graze - and were prefigured in the chipped nail polish and scrawled messages on hands of the recent "Sugar Nights" series, but absent in the polished, primary-bright perfection of Deborah Paauwe's earlier images. Cupped handfuls of plastic letters, the unprecedented detail of a mouth, seem to offer the proposal, "Write your own story."
© Wendy Walker 2000