Through their highly accomplished practices, the artists in the exhibition investigate various approaches to utilizing abstract tendencies in the media of painting, printing, photography and sculpture. Their respective poetics are grounded in the history of abstract art from both the West and the East, merging traditional and contemporary materials and topics into compositions that are captivating both visually and conceptually.
The paintings of Vicky Colombet are simultaneously abstract and suggestive of landscape. Made with natural gem and earth pigments, they are both earthbound and transcendent. The movement is upward, underlining the depicted majestic rocky terrains and mountainy vistas, in the artist’s original rendering of these traditional artistic motifs. Mostly monochromatic, the paintings of Colombet lend themselves to contemplation and reflection.
Lucia Papčo’s inspiration stems from landscapes of her native Slovakia. By using black and white photography and avoiding digital manipulation, the artist captures ephemeral moments of the interplay of light, angle and shadow, resulting in unique portrayals of the landscape. By underexposing the photographs and transforming a colored reality into a monochromatic image, Papčo evokes a sense of abstraction from the physical environment while delivering dreamy and sublime, emotionally charged imagery of a place.
Clytie Alexander’s Variable Edition series of unique stencil prints are made on both sides of transparent, handmade paper. Conceived as a set of abstract notations (a constantly present principle in Alexander’s work), these works playfully merge the artist’s preoccupations with color, transparent surfaces, their edges and boundaries, foreground and background, surface and depth, light and shadow, motion and stillness and continuity and dissonance. Alexander’s works seem like they reach out to the surrounding space, inviting the spectator for a complex and nuanced visual experience.
In his works in various media, Chinese artist Jian-Jun Zhang references traditional Chinese landscape and ink painting as much as Western abstraction art history. By using ink, oil paint, acrylic, natural materials and rice or translucent papers, he poetically speaks about space, time, cultural legacies and environment. Zhang’s contemplative compositions, graciously occupying the space between figuration and abstraction, embody uncertainty and emphasize the process of transformation.
Barbara Edelstein expresses the importance of integrating nature into our everyday lives in order to preserve it. Her series of diptychs pair photography and ink drawings; various artistic processes that evoke an array of contrasts such as permanence and impermanence, East and West, or hard and soft. Ultimately, this dynamics impart the artist’s sense of quiet reverence for nature, while also provoking thinking about our own relation to it, as an individual and as a society.