Social Transformations, Pao Galleries
Hong Kong, 11-28 November 2018
In this installation a two panel painting is paired with a two channel video. The painting replicates an old black and white family photograph of a mother and child, but massively enlarged. The two figures are painted in a highly illusionistic style but in a tonal cobalt blue monochrome. Up close they are slightly out of focus and the key focal object, which the holds their gaze, is blurred to the point of obscurity. In contrast the background is painted in a totally flat style, with a flat blob of paint falling directly on top of one of the “3D” figures, reinstating the flatness of the painted surface and undermining the illusionary realism. The videos echo the diptych format, the two looped and unsynced videos never fully coming into focus. One shows a close up single figure, head only, partially concealed in some kind of cloak or oversized hood. She is slowly revolving, but each time her face is partially revealed the focus blurs just as she might become recognisable. In the other, a crowded street scene gradually comes almost into focus, lingering at its clearest passage on a woman crossing the road towards us. They may or may not be the same people from the painting, but they are both connected and separated across time and space.
The work deliberately combines traditional and abstract styles of painting with video of both highly stylised performative action and everyday scenes to amplify the layers of complexity across generational relationships and identity formation.