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Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History Latest Ocula Conversation
In Partnership with Artspace Sydney
Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History By Ruth McDougall, Sydney

Artist Taloi Havini and Ruth McDougall, curator of Pacific art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, discuss Havini's first Australian solo exhibition, Reclamation .

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Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere Latest Ocula Report Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere By Soo-Min Shim, Sydney

'This year's Biennale of Sydney seems like a corrective,' writes Soo-Min Shim, 'prioritising autonomy in an international exhibition format that has all too often omitted or sidelined First Nations artists.'

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Hell is a Place on Earth: P·P·O·W Looks to History in Context of Covid-19 Ocula Insight Hell is a Place on Earth: P·P·O·W Looks to History in Context of Covid-19 By Stephanie Bailey, London

In the United States, parallels have been drawn between the HIV/AIDS crisis and what is unfolding with Covid-19. These connections feed into P·P·O·W's online exhibition, Hell is a Place on Earth. Heaven is a Place in Your Head .

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HomePage Artists

b. 1982, China

Guo Hongwei Biography

Guo Hongwei is a contemporary Chinese artist known for his exploration of the paint medium—notably in oil and watercolour—that produces a versatile range of textures, from hazy to precise reproductions of objects both artificial and natural.

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Guo Hongwei's early paintings reveal his interest in memory. At Dissolving Memories (2007), his first solo exhibition at Connoisseur Art Gallery in Hong Kong, the artist presented monochrome paintings based on childhood photographs of himself and family, which were made blurry by diluting paint with turpentine. Guo similarly experimented with watercolour on wet paper in 'Chiaroscuro' (2009), in which forms become hazy and almost indiscernible, as if alluding to the ambiguity of memory. In Chiaroscuro #1, for example, the contrast between the white and black are the only signifiers to two sitting figures.

In Guo Hongwei's solo exhibition Things, first at Chambers Fine Art Beijing in 2009 and at the gallery's New York location in the following year, Guo showcased oil and watercolour paintings that depict everyday objects. The oil-on-canvas Chair No. 1 (2009), for example, portrays a stool with green legs and a yellow top, which the artist painted with a thick varnish containing resin; the paint has dried with crusty edges. For watercolour, Guo first drew the outline of his subjects with water-soluble chalk on paper, then wet the surface with water followed by watercolour paint. In resulting images such as Red Plastic Bag No. 4 (2009), the uneven distribution of the paint creates an ambiguous texture, capturing the subtle folds found in a plastic bag.

While painting isolated objects against a white background, Guo Hongwei's realised that his works shared an aesthetic with the way specimens are exhibited at natural museums. This discovery inspired him to paint natural specimens in large-scale watercolour paintings that appeared in Painting is Collecting (2012), a three-part exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, New York. In Bird No. 2 (2011), four different birds sit on perches; using a mostly monochrome palette of brown, the artist has meticulously captured the birds' distinct profiles. He employs the neat, grid system of museums in works such as Plant No. 7 (2011), depicting various leaves in descending order according to size, while conveying his grasp of the watercolour medium in controlling the density of water and brushstrokes to replicate each specimen from life.

Recurring concerns in Guo Hongwei's art practice include the use of metaphors, hinting at a reluctance to ascribe literal meaning to his works. In the five-screen video installation of The Great Metaphorist (2014), for example, the artist examines the 20-minute drive between his house and studio—an otherwise ordinary part of his daily life that turns into a surprising allegory of his life and art. The artist continued to contemplate familiar subjects from a different perspective in Plastic Heaven (2017)—a solo exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, New York—with paintings such as Red in Snow (2017), which shows an apple wrapped in white Styrofoam netting.

Other solo exhibitions include Pareidolia, Chambers Fine Art, New York (2020); Lustrous and Dazzling, Gallery 100, Taipei (2015); and Miss Oyu, Frieze New York (2014). Guo Hongwei has participated in group exhibitions such as Between Past and Futures: SGA Collection Exhibition, Shanghai Gallery of Art (2018); Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions, Tokyo (2016); and My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2015).

Guo Hongwei lives and works in Beijing.

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020

Guo Hongwei Featured Artworks

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Red in Snow 雪中赤 by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiRed in Snow 雪中赤, 2017Oil on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work
Cosmic Candies No.3, by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiCosmic Candies No.3,, 2018Watercolour on paper
67 x 102 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work
Fig. 2 of Affine Transformation by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiFig. 2 of Affine Transformation, 2017Watercolour on paper
57 x 76 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work
Insect No.11 by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiInsect No.11, 2014Watercolour on paper
200 x 150 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work
Cosmic Candies No. 1 by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiCosmic Candies No. 1, 2018Watercolour on paper
67 x 102 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work
Fig. 1 of Affine Transformation by Guo Hongwei contemporary artwork
Guo HongweiFig. 1 of Affine Transformation, 2017Watercolour on paper
57 x 76 cm
Chambers Fine Art Enquire about this work

Guo Hongwei Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The Illustrated Word: Artwork Inspired by Calligraphy at Chambers Fine Art, New York
Closed
12–19 March 2020 Group Exhibition The Illustrated Word: Artwork Inspired by Calligraphy Chambers Fine Art, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Guo Hongwei, Pareidolia 幻想性错视 at Chambers Fine Art, New York
Closed
3 March–4 April 2020 Guo Hongwei Pareidolia 幻想性错视 Chambers Fine Art, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Out for Summer at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong
Closed
12 July–7 September 2019 Group Exhibition Out for Summer Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong

Guo Hongwei Represented By

Guo Hongwei In Ocula Magazine

The Armory Show 2020 Ocula Photolog The Armory Show 2020

The Armory Show (5–8 March) features presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions, and dynamic public programs. The 2020 edition of The Armory Show, welcomes 183 exhibitors from 32 countries, convening Midtown Manhattan at Piers 90 and 94.

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Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Ocula Insight Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist By Sherry Paik, New York

Guo Hongwei's recent watercolour paintings, showing at Chambers Fine Art in New York from 3 March, trigger pareidolia—the phenomenon of seeing random objects or patterns where they do not exist.

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Guo Hongwei In Related Press

Mining Mineral Structures with Watercolor and Sediment Related Press Mining Mineral Structures with Watercolor and Sediment 6 November 2017, Hyperallergic

Beijing artist Guo Hongwei is a master of watercolor technique, able to create convincing, almost photographic, results from this most minimal medium. He is also a collector of sorts, using his skill to assemble taxonomies of natural elements: leaves and butterflies, rocks and crystals.

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Leo Xu / Shanghai Related Press Leo Xu / Shanghai 4 August 2015, Flash Art

Among the most promising art dealers in contemporary China, Leo Xu has gathered together some of the boldest figures in the country’s emerging art scene: Cheng Ran, Li Shurui, Liu Chuang, Cui Jie, Cheng Wei and Guo Hongwei, just to name a few. Xu talks with Flash Art about his early career and future projects, and shares his vision for a...

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Guo Hongwei In Video & Audio

Guo Hongwei Related Video & Audio Guo Hongwei 1 August 2015, Art Asia Pacific

Guo Hongwei, born in 1982, is one of the most active young painters from Beijing. Renowned for his inventive execution of watercolor and oil, Guo takes painting as a form of collecting, a philosophy that has been the subject of his recent exhibitions. The subject matter of his works ranges from everyday objects to specimens of flora, fauna and...

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