Linda Gallery and Payne Y. Loh Art jointly present group exhibition "Beyond Images"
The exhibition "Beyond Images" features over 30 paintings created in the past four years by the artists Dong Xiaojiu, Guo Jing, Huang Qiyou, and Ji Yiwei. Based on the four artists’ different but representative creation methods and styles, invite the audiences to re-discuss “beyond images” in painting.
In the early 20th century, metaphysical painting, born under the influence of the rise of irrational philosophy, was taken as an example. Art is no longer aimed at depicting specific images but pays more attention to the spiritual atmosphere caused by the vision, that is, to find the free consciousness beyond the natural objects through art. Painting, as a method, helps artists to combine the imagination and rational world in the most subjective and accessible way to achieve the complete unity of the conscious and unconscious field of experience.
Guo Jing’s paintings are primarily realistic, often depicting a specific scene or a particular object as the subject. In the choreographed composition, the details and individuals are deliberately amplified, so the audience will often feel unease from these realistic but different images. In images full of metaphors and symbols, a narrative of “absurdity” grows more assertive in an extraordinarily restrained and calm order. Under specific rules set by Guo, the apparent “conflict” is highly weakened, thus deepening the sensory experience based on inner perception.
Likewise, Ji Yiwei’s realistic and fantastical paintings look at human relations with a cold eye. Unlike Guo, who emphasizes an object, Ji is adept at arranging characters from different dimensions in the same space and time through intuitive imagination. These illusory dreamlike pictures greatly obscure the concept of time, which exists in the rational world. All the characters carry the most moving and vivid gestures of individual lives in the context of the times when they are swept into the invisible waves of epic.
The appearance of the word “Xiang Wai” in Chinese can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, when Sikong Tu used the poem “beyond the image, gain the center” to express that the goal of art should be beyond the appearance of things and grasp their inner essence and charm. The expression of artistic conception is often regarded as an “ineffable” mystery, which is different from the Western based on the construction of reality. We can find it in the works of Huang Qiyou and Dong Xiaojiu.
Huang Qiyou’s paintings abandon the use of perspective and the shaping of space in Western painting skill, and the Oriental allegorical and unique classical aesthetics appear on the canvas. He uses the characteristics of Western painting pigments and the concept of “coating,” covering, penetrating, and blending, finally retaining the traces of brushing to create a variety of composite layers of texture. Huang’s works are based on an Oriental literati aesthetic, which is low-key, implicit, and pays attention to the flow of blank space and breath.
The sentence “in a trance, there is something in it” originates from the view of the dialectical relationship between “image” and “thing” in Laozi’s Tao Te Ching. It is the “philosophical speculation” that Dong Xiaojiu constantly tries to practice in painting. Dong’s paintings wander between the abstract and the concrete, with recognizable figures looming in the repeatedly processed scenes, making the boundary between fiction and reality more ambiguous. He regards painting as a process of construction, destruction, and reconstruction. And he processed the same detail in different ways of expression and finally left the most appropriate state of the image. At the same time, his reference and teasing of famous paintings transformed people’s familiar experiences into a new narrative of black tragicomedy.
- Wang Yaoli