English art critic John Berger (1926-2017) suggested that the way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves.
This exhibition stages the works from contemporary Chinese artist Tang Zhigang and his followers, Su Jie, Su Jia Shou and Su Jia Xi. The four artists discussed the boundaries of abstract expressionism and figurative art. They are impressed with the power of abstract expressionism by Mark Rothko (1903-1970) but on the other hand, they have not been given up figurative depiction. The works presented in this exhibition are showing their unique styles and own expressions of art.
Although every artwork embodies a way of seeing, our perception or appreciation of an artwork depends upon our own way of seeing. “Ways of Seeing” is a metaphor for driving the viewers to develop their own ways of seeing from each artists’ works, and thereby experience the visual fascination of art.
Since the nineties of last century, Tang created a large number of impressive, humorous and sharp allegory paintings, such as “Children in Meeting”, “Never Grow Up”, and “Chinese Fairy Tale”. He depicts ignorant, naughty, innocent children in serious political life and military scenes, to satirize the childish, anti-intellectual, absurd and profound loneliness of adult world. In the new series “Booming and Glory”, we can still see the continuation of “Children in Meeting”, but the simple background is transformed to the blooming flowers. The artist wants to paint it even more freely in which to express his disdain for the dogmatic college teaching.
Su Jie is skilled at capturing dramatic moments in daily scenes, with very expressive colours and quick brush strokes, conveys a sense of immediacy. His paintings often combined with a text or a sentence that originated from an excerpt or a thought. This forms an intertextual relationship between the thoughts and the scenes depicted in the painting, and also provides an intertwined experience with reading and sensation.
Su Jia Shou
In Su’s points of view, painting aims not to describe or express something but is a practice and a process that can open the mind of oneself. He often depicts part of realistic objects in the paintings. His paintings are generally enveloped in cold grey tone, with scattered light spots, like the faded old photos and remnants.
Su Jia Xi
Su Jia Xi believes painting is an introspective process and a dialogue with oneself. His paintings are full of misty water, woods and glowing glitter that created a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere.