Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present BOLD & VIVID for its summer exhibition in the H Queen's space. The gallery has selected works in the idea that art could remain innocently pleasing even in this difficult time.
We trust that art can bring joy and consolations even in dire circumstances. Through this selection of artists whose practices revolve around their use of bold colors and vivid imageries, we hope you find momentarily joy and comfort. While the world is still processing this strange reality with a sense of urgency, we believe it is important to take a break, not let worry and anxiety consume you. So while you are in the gallery, let yourself immerse in colors and enjoy the exhibition.
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929, Japan)
Born in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama is one of the most beloved artists of our time, she turns her hallucination into iconic art pieces like the pumpkin and polka dots paintings, sculptures, and installations. To establish herself, Kusama moved to New York in 1958 and has lived there for more than 16 years. She created works of significant motifs such as 'Infinity Nets', soft sculptures as well as live happenings, proving herself to be one of the most avant-garde female artists during that time. Her works are seen across the world at important exhibitions and collections, including Venice Biennale 1993, MoMA (New York), the Whitney Museum (New York), Tate Modern (London), and Pompidou Center (Paris).
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962, Japan)
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Takashi Murakami draws inspirations from traditional Japanese art, historical context, anime and pop culture, creating paintings, sculptures, and a wide range of other multi-media works, which have become one of the representations of Japanese contemporary art. Since the early 1990s, he created the character Mr. Dob, representing himself and also serving as a mascot for his brand. In 2000, he coined the concept of 'super flat' by curating an exhibition featuring works by artists who are merging traditional Japanese elements such as 'ukiyo-e' (woodblock prints technique of the Edo period) and 'kawaii' (a particular cuteness in anime and cartoons) culture, and has been avidly promoting art through crossovers with brands from other fields such as Louis Vuitton, Supreme and musicians Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.
Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004, USA)
Born Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1931, Tom Wesselmann was one of the leading American Pop artists of the 1960s. Wesselmann first studied psychology at the University of Cincinnati before he was drafted into the US Army. Upon returning from the war, Wesselmann began to draw cartoons about his own war experiences. He eventually enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the Cooper Union, where he focused on fine art. Inspired by Willem de Kooning, he was propelled to find his own passion and went in the opposite direction of de Kooning as possible. He explored the traditional situations of painting nudes and landscapes, while adding everyday elements, patriotic colours and advertisement motifs. His first large-scale series, 'Great American Nude' started in 1961, has attracted lots of attention of the art world. The series featured highly sexualised and boldly depicted female shapes situated in recognisable environments. This series would also set the benchmark for Wesselmann as one of the originators of American Pop art, for his vibrant still-life and cartoonish erotic figures.
Julian Opie (b. 1958, UK)
Julian Opie was born in London in 1958 and lives and works in London. He graduated from Goldsmiths, the University of London in the 1980s. There, Opie was apprenticing to the conceptual artist Michael Craig Martin and began exploring the relationship between sculpture and space. Opie is also a visual artist of the new British sculpture, a movement started around the 1980s, which in response to the predominant minimal and conceptual art in that era, adopted a more classical and figurative approach to materials, techniques, and imagery. Drawing inspirations from traditional portraiture, Japanese woodblock prints, and public signals, Opie blends clean visual presentations of everyday life with references to foundations of art history. His works are instantly recognisable due to the use of bold lines, animation figures, and minimal color palette.
Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987, USA)
Born in Pittsburgh, US, Andy Warhol was a leading figure of the most important art movement in the 20th Century known as Pop Art. Warhol initially pursued a career as a commercial illustrator for a variety of brands, however, after a few successful gallery exhibitions in the late 1950s, he began to gain recognition as an influential artist. In his New York studio, there were always people of different characters such as intellectuals, artists, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons, stirring up a progressive art scene in the city. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, mass production, advertising, and celebrity culture, using techniques from painting, silkscreen printing to photography and film. Images of the Campbell's Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroe, and Mao in the 60s to 70s are among the best-known works he ever made, creating a lot of controversies at that time yet proving his visionary insights into the future.
Philip Colbert (b. 1979, UK)
Born in Scotland and living and working in London, Philip Colbert has created a global following for his cartoon lobster persona and his masterful hyperpop history paintings. His work powerfully explores the patterns of contemporary digital culture and its relationship to a deeper art historical dialogue. 'I became an artist when I became a Lobster,' says Colbert. Graduating with an MA in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, Colbert's work has received international acclaim in museums and galleries worldwide for his refreshing approach to painting and pop theory. Inspired by early Pop painters such as Richard Hamilton and Roy Lichtenstein, Colbert's paintings cross different art themes from old master paintings and contemporary art with everyday mass culture symbols, all narrated through Colbert's cartoon Lobster. Colbert is often hailed as the 'godson of Andy Warhol' and has been championed as a contemporary pop master by prominent art world figures such as Charles Saatchi and Simon de Pury.
Press release courtesy Whitestone Gallery.