Gallery EXIT presents a group exhibition ‘New Gaze’, featuring the works of Celia KO, LAU Siu Chung, Ticko Liu and Glary Wu.
Through this series of works, Celia KO explores her various constructions of reality through still-life painting as a seemingly naturalistic world intensely observed. Departing from her usual figurative subjects and portraiture and as a manifestation of her keen interest in the still-life genre of the Dutch Golden Age, she turns to still-life objects, paradoxically called la nature-morte (dead nature) in French. Placed amidst sheets of bubble wrap, the objects of the artist’s still-life are closely tied to her childhood memory and family story. Through the depiction of objects surrounded by bubble wrap, the preservation of memory is revealed to be a severing from the past, a disconnection from history and the forgetting of the past lives and existence of the older generations. The seemingly mundane objects portrayed in the paintings, gathered from the artist’s home and everyday existence, evoke memories and stories of the past and are held dear by the artist. Through intensive observation and portrayal of these objets d’amour at once living and dead, revealed and concealed, in this construct of an intimate space filled with personal meanings, Ko tries to reconstruct a sort of family memory and imagine an ‘old times’, connecting them with her loved ones and her childhood memories, as she reflects on her life here in Hong Kong.
Obsessed with capturing the fleeting moments of everyday life, LAU Siu Chung’s works depart from the city where he lives, leading the viewer through various urban landscapes and street impressions, where city and nature seem to blend into one another, though the artist feels that there is always a line separating the two. In Lau’s paintings, constantly changing lines and layerings create a unique viewing experience. Based on photographic images, Lau’s composition combines the artist’s own viewing experience and scenic images through the camera lens, rendering with vivid colours and flowing brushstrokes the photosensitivity, exposure and depth of field. The colourful squares and dots that constantly appear on the pictorial surface mimic the pixels of digital imaging, a kind of exploration of how today’s technological world affects our visual experience.
For Ticko LIU, his surrealistic paintings are collages of his myriad ideas, inspirations, images and observations. A man of many interests, the artist recalls a childhood immersed in wild and boundless imaginations, expressed through the act of painting amidst a repressive environment. Liu has a keen eye for observation, and his creations are inspired by various daily scenes, flora and fauna in the natural world, the cinema and moving images, his collection of toy models, etc. All these are reimagined by the artist and rendered in bright colours and undulating lines on the canvas, presenting a fantasy space of the everyday that is nonetheless believable and relatable. Based on the model tanks and sports cars on the artist’s desk, the two sets of four paintings in the exhibition juxtapose a realist still-life with an imagined counterpart, mirroring the external and internal landscapes of the artist. By recording the small things around him, the artist tries to lead the viewer into his imaginary world.
In Glary WU’s paintings, scenes and characters from daily life are presented on the canvas as individual scenes from a stage play. Revolving around trivial happenings and interactions between people, Wu’s paintings are rich in imagination and narrative quality, with special attention to the interactions between the various elements and characters on the pictorial surface and associations evoked from the scenes. The impression given by a place changes according to the encounters happening within, becoming more vivid and bright with increasing intimacy. Drawn from the artist’s personal experience, the four oil paintings document the various scenes of the artist amusing herself with her friends. According to the atmosphere the artist wishes to convey, imaginary elements and personal associations are incorporated into the paintings, such as the stars above a square, waterfall and fireworks, the fountain and the sea, shadows of flowers in a room. A sense of mobility is created by a soft and variable palette and layered brushstrokes.