Can abstraction (as in painting) still be a valid language to raise questions and discuss important issues?
Or is abstraction a dated language, a relic from early 20th-century Modernism where form (i.e. shape and color) overrode content?
Can abstract art reflect the changes made in our advanced technological society?
PHOTO COURTESY OF IT PARK
Can abstraction aid the viewer, like a road map, to help decode the signs and meanings in our complicated world?
In other words, is it still a viable expression for our times? These are some of the questions brought to mind in Ava Hsueh's (薛保瑕) intelligent exhibition of paintings titled Flowing Codes, currently on view at IT Park.
Working predominantly in acrylic (which are water-based paints), Hsueh gives texture to the paintings allowing them the heavy, built-up feeling of oils. In her previous paintings, the abstractions referred to organic forms found in the natural environment. In her latest work, the abstractions are becoming more structural and linear and have titles that reflect the influence of our digital age.
PHOTO COURTESY OF IT PARK
In Flowing Code, there is a sense of infinite space and of flat space, simultaneously. Think of a Pollock drip painting which gives both senses of infinity and flatness at the same time.
The greens and thickly impastoed yellows allude to an underwater world of murky shadows and hidden coves, yet the grays and blacks make it seem like some kind of digital virtual world as the painting nestles on a grid of black wooden blocks.
In Unusual Field, the black smears and bluish drips juxtaposed with the linear rows of wooden blocks seem to hint at the dark complexities of structures such as languages and binary codes.
This painting really gives a feeling of our complex technologies, even though there is no high-tech image or symbol depicted. Rather it is the shapes of the brush strokes, the build-up of the layers of paint and drips and the effects of the color juxtaposition that conveys the idea, and therefore is a good example of how abstraction can communicate tangible thoughts and meaning.
Three panels make up Differential Decoding. The left panel flatly painted in a golden ochre tone has shimmery blond streaks while the middle panel contains a complex mixture of earthen tones that are transparent and opaque.
The red oxides, golds and blacks create a pleasing visual texture like a textile contrasted with the right panel of black blocks that appear in several of the other paintings.
The manufactured feel of the blocks offsets the painterly touch and creates a pleasing visual symmetry.
The more painterly Butterfly Effect still contains references to binary codes and the like. Yet it shows off a parade of exploding short green, red and yellow strokes that dissolve into a reddish field.
This canvas brings to mind Mondrian's abstractions that were based on organic forms such as trees.
Hsueh shows us that she can go back to her roots, too, with natural forms that show the joy of life and speak about the modern condition.
What: Ava Hsueh's new exhibition Flowing Codes.
Where: IT Park, 2-3F, 41Yitong Street, Taipei
When: Until July 27. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 1pm to 10pm. For information, call (02) 2507 1149. Free admission.
In Taiwan’s foothills, suspension bridges — or the remnants of them — are almost as commonplace as temples. “Suspension bridge” is a direct translation of the Chinese-language term (吊橋, diaoqiao), but it’s a little misleading. These spans aren’t huge pieces of infrastructure. The larger ones are just wide enough for the little trucks used by farmers. Others are suitable for two-wheelers and wheelbarrows. If one end is higher than the other, they may incorporate steps, like the recently-inaugurated, pedestrians-only Shuanglong Rainbow Suspension Bridge (雙龍七彩吊橋) in Nantou County. Because torrential rains hammer Taiwan during the hot season, the landscape is scarred by
With his sugarcane juice stall at Monga Nightmarket (艋舺夜市) floundering due to COVID-19, things took a turn for the worse for Lin Chih-hang (林志航) when he was furloughed from a part-time job. The crowds are trickling back to this nightmarket in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), but Lin is now so busy that he has hired a friend to run his stall. As the sole driver of the night market’s delivery service, established on April 12, Lin takes on an average of 20 orders on weeknights and over 60 on weekends, with his father helping out when he is too busy.
May 25 to May 31 Three months before his 90th birthday in 2015, Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) woke up shortly after midnight and experienced a inexplicable sense of clarity. “Suddenly, my mind started going all over the place. There were some recent memories, but also many that I thought I had long forgotten. They would appear and disappear from my brain one after another, and they were so clear, so lucid. Even the memories from 70, 80 years ago felt like they happened yesterday. I suddenly thought, if I still remember so much, why don’t I write everything down?” Despite his solid
Eslite Gallery will hold an open house at their new gallery tomorrow in Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. The doors to the new space will open at 4pm and will feature works by local and international artists. As a nod to the ongoing pandemic and Taiwan’s handling of it, the gallery also announced a project called Artivate, calling on 12 of its artists to emblazon details from their artwork on cloth masks. Participating local artists include Jimmy Liao (幾米), whose illustrated books with simple stories about people coping in the modern urban world have become hot sellers across Asia, and