For those visiting during Art Basel in Hong Kong (29–31 March 2019), the smell of fresh paint may still be in the air at the latest heritage conservation project, The Mills, which opened on 16 March to encompass the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textiles (CHAT), joining the ranks with ex-prison complex Tai Kwun, along with Eaton HK—a retro...
Firenze Lai says that she knows her studio of a few hundred square feet intimately; from the textures of its surfaces to the way the breeze blows into the room. The spaces depicted in her paintings are equally intimate. When curators seem to be at a loss for words to discuss troubled times, fear of containment, and the feeling of being completely...
In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
For the 2016 edition of Zona Maco, Timothy Taylor brings together contemporary artists with historical figures from the gallery’s programme. With work by Antoni Tàpies, Josephine Meckseper and Gabriel de la Mora, the gallery furthers its commitment to a multi-generational programme, and with Sean Scully, offers a return to the place that inspired the artist’s now celebrated Wall of Light paintings: Mexico.
Sean Scully is one of the most admired contemporary abstract painters, easily recognised for his iconic striped paintings. In the 1970s, Scully confined his painting vocabulary to tightly-controlled horizontal and diagonal stripes. In the 1980s, however, Scully blatantly contradicted himself by freely experimenting with structure and composition. This new direction was directly informed by a pivotal trip to Mexico in 1980, where he began to paint from nature, rapidly transcribing his experience of light and colour into watercolour. His observation of ad hoc building – roadside shacks assembled from mismatched wood, cardboard and corrugated tin – would influence subsequent work. Scully began to assemble separately painted canvases, jamming mismatched components together, to create an entirely new aesthetic.
In the 1990s, this was further expanded, for his Wall of Light series, where Scully replaced the precise stripes of his earlier pieces with blocks of colour, building them with increasingly loose and feathered brushstrokes into irregular structures or ‘walls’ that imply strength and impermanence. Recently, Scully’s Landline series embraces the influence of nature. As curator Danilo Eccher has said, these paintings “emanate a sense of history yet remain resolutely contemporary. They balance severe geometry with the romantic sincerity of landscape painting.”
Scully’s work is held in numerous public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth; Tate, London; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20K21, Düsseldorf; Albertina, Vienna; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and Instituto Valencia d’Arte Modern, Valencia.
Antoni Tàpies and his contemporaries (Fontana, Beuys, Burri) were instrumental in the evolution of postwar European abstraction. While Paris continued to be the nexus of European arts after the war, many artists abandoned the illusion that art could change society, instead establishing the artist as a self-reliant individual. This impulse led to explorations with raw and unaesthetic materials, the treatment of paint as a flowing, vital medium, and the use of spontaneous gestures. Tàpies' frequent use of assemblage – particularly the recurring use of clothing, windows, doors and beds – became a signature motif, pushing his practice to the limits of intuitive expression. In the artist’s late career, distinct areas of activity were unified: object-assemblages incorporated painting as well as sculpture, for example, Nuats (Knotted), 2003.
In a similar way, and relative to her own time, Josephine Meckseper’s work – drawn from the visual and material cultures of protest, activism, advertising, cinema and early twentieth century display architecture – interrogates politics, capitalism and art history through paradoxical juxtapositions of images and objects. The arrangement of disparate items in Meckseper’s work is culturally and historically significant; her pieces often described as time capsules. In the large vitrine, The Story of Mankind (2014), the arrangement of objects includes a photograph of Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, a stocking-clad mannequin leg, a Brancusi-esque sculpture, and an abstract canvas.
Similar vitrines, along with Meckseper’s large-scale installations, sculptures, paintings and films, are in the permanent collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Migros Museum, Zurich. Her wall vitrines are on permanent view at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Having trained as an architect before gaining a Master's degree of Fine Arts in painting from the Pratt Institute, New York, Gabriel de la Mora transcends the limitations of distinct disciplines, positing himself as an artist who bases his work on possibilities and concepts, as much as his ideas. De la Mora's work lies in questioning and experimenting with the space that lies between painting, drawing and sculpture, revealing the intimate and personal conventions found in modernist abstraction.
De la Mora repurposes detritus and debris salvaged from the street or from flea markets, transforming everyday materials into works that either abstract through exposure to natural elements over time, or become new objects composed through the accumulation of fragments. Worn soles of shoes, damaged photographs, matchboxes and found paintings are passed through a process of pentimento – reworking, erasing and altering – to create exquisite objects that curiously hover between figuration and abstraction.
The metaphysical category of time becomes a fundamental factor in each of de la Mora’s works, the artist subscribing strongly to the theory that a work of art must attempt to outlive the person who creates it. In this idea exists a principal artistic goal that pertains to the search for an equilibrium between the conceptual and the formal; from the appearance of an idea, to its execution. The ambition for balance between these elements gives rise not only to works of art but to an archive in which the artist obsessively safeguards the passage of time.
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.