Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present Absorption as a Way of Seeing, featuring works by eight contemporary artists: Kim Tschang-Yeul (b. 1929), Kenny Wong (b. 1987), Sinta Tantra (b. 1979), Luke Heng (b. 1987), Studio Swine (b. 1983 & b. 1984), Li Tianbing (b. 1974), Gonkar Gyatso (b. 1961) and Thukral & Tagra (b. 1976 & b. 1979).
In his 1967 seminal essay 'Art and Objecthood', art historian Michael Fried investigates ways to perpetuate the viewing experience of art. Fried proposes that artworks are 'more than objects'; specifically, the experience of art does not rely on the object on view alone, but also the way in which we partake in 'the entire situation' and embrace the very object within our field of vision. Objecthood is defined as the conditions that entice viewers to look consciously and to engage with an object. In short, the way we look at an artwork becomes an integral part of the object itself. This group exhibition reflects on our absorption of an artwork as spectators and explores the link between materiality, time, and memory in order to acknowledge the ontological and emotive potential of art itself.
Kim Tschang-Yeul's 'water drop' paintings combine the discourse of photorealism and abstract expressionism, placing the paintings in an ambiguous space between abstraction and reality. For Kim, water is the origin of all things, highlighting that nothing in our universe would exist without water.
Kenny Wong explores the delicate relationship between daily experiences and perceptual stimulations, merging kinetic and digital representation to create computational kinetic installations. Dist.solo involves an LCD panel, featuring close-up video of a pair of eyes suspended from a pendulum. The work is inspired by the moment of intimacy that occurs when two people make eye contact and the indefinite variables in relationships.
Sinta Tantra examines the territory between two and three dimensions and the visual balance of push and pull. Her works define the clarity between the two, but also find endless ways of distorting it, questioning the relationship between painting and architecture.
Luke Heng's newest standalone wax works on mild steel are renderings of time. The artist's repeated compression of shaved wax—a transitional state usually antecedent to casting—creates a perceivably solid structure that teases its vulnerable reality.
Studio Swine uses human hair in Hair Highway to investigate its role in the expanding beauty industry and industrial production. The artists explain how human hair is utilized as a 'renewable alternative to diminishing resources such as turtle shell or topical wood'. Presented here is a series of cross-cultural hybrid objects that are inspired by the aesthetic language from the Qing dynasty and 1920's Shanghai Deco style.
Continuing his exploration of the idea of isolation as a societal condition, Li Tianbing's oil paintings depict the figure of the monkey with striking three-dimensional detailing. His uncle even captured one as a pet for him when Li was four, but the monkey was often kept tied up and alone. In the self-portraits Me and the Monkey Baby and Me and the Monkey on the Hammock, one senses the impact of the artist's early encounter with another inherently social animal to which enforced loneliness was a sentence.
Gonkar Gyatso's reinterpretation of traditional Thangka paintings take reference from popular culture, indicating how cultural globalization has affected traditional Buddhism. His work meditates on what it means to be living in a particular place and time. Gyatso inserts Buddhist and Tibetan iconography into our daily lives.
Thukral & Tagra reflect on politics by questioning spectatorship and contemplate the issue of survival in a cultural economy that is endowed with symbols, idioms, and ideas. Baker's Dozen showcases a series of paintings simulating slices of bread with each representing a phenomenon or object, including luxury, masonry and stone mining, technology, fishing, power, transportation, lumber, and grain.
Press release courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.