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...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
For the last exhibition of 2015, Two Rooms presents a group show featuring the work of three abstract painters: Selina Foote, Jeena Shin and Jan van der Ploeg. United by their adherence to geometric patterning, repetition, and the use of an all-over composition, the three artists produce non-objective paintings that explore the visual impact of graphic shapes and colours. Although they display some aesthetic similarities, the interests and methods of the artists are remarkably diverse.
Jeena Shin’s work from the sequential series Motus utilises a restricted monochromatic palette to craft highly rhythmic paintings composed entirely of triangular forms. Limiting herself to painting a singular shape, Shin operates within the boundless variables of placement. Triangles are positioned next to, and on top of, other triangles, in an endless rotation that produces an internal movement. Appearing to tumble and shift across the surface, Shin’s nuanced layers of overlapping forms create an energetic dynamism as figure and ground are blurred, reversed and interlaced. The canvases are almost mesmerising in their precision and complexity as the scattered forms are seen to ebb and flow, step forward and recede.
The high level of exactitude, and the indeterminate relationship between foreground and background that is seen in Shin’s work is also characteristic of Jan van der Ploeg’s painting practise. Interested in the ability of simple forms and bold colours to mediate and transform spatial awareness and visual perception, he explores the seemingly endless potential of equivalent formal elements to produce compositions of serial regularity. The paintings present an almost mechanised perfection as sharp, crisply delineated lines fracture the support into shards of contrasting colour. Van der Ploeg’s work revels in the impact of vibrant hues where brilliant shades of pink, blue and yellow dominate the painting.
Upon first glance, it appears that like Shin and Van der Ploeg, Selina Foote operates within a hard-edged geometric abstraction, but close inspection of her works reveal lightly ruled lines in pencil and painterly sections where evidence of the brush remains. Drawing inspiration from the works of European masters such as Rembrandt and Manet, Foote distils, refines, and reduces areas of colour, light and line from the original painting to reveal a set of pictorial givens. Foote refers to the process as “gleaning information,” and once accomplished the source image is discarded and the painting process begins. The emerging work reacts against the structural remnants of the source image and Foote masterfully teases and controls line and colour to produce works that are radically divergent from their starting point.
Mōtus m (genitive mōtūs) derives from the Latin: 1. A movement, motion; 2. (by extension) an advance, progress; 3. (figuratively) A movement, impulse, passion; disturbance; sensation.
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