China’s Hua Qing (華慶) makes the Chinese Zodiac seem like the animals next door. In The Twelve Faces of Humankind (人的十二個面貌), a solo show of oil paintings and wood prints, Hua roughly strips the twelve creatures of their mythology. The dragon is no longer a dragon, but a dinosaur that once roamed the earth, and the lyrical rooster is replaced with a wrinkled turkey. Each animal is fitted with a pair of human eyes, so that the horse seems to wink, while the rat, carrying its offspring, looks out with a gaze that’s faintly accusatory.
■ Asia Art Center II (亞洲藝術中心二館), 93, Lequn 2nd Road, Taipei City (台北市樂群二路93號), tel: (02) 8502-7939. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6:30pm
■ Until Sunday
Huang Hai-hsin (黃海欣) isn’t sure there is a happy future ahead of Taiwan. In solo exhibition A Better Future: “Home, Sweet Home” (“甜蜜家庭” 黃海欣個展) , she brings some 50 paintings of contemporary life that are as humorous as they are horrifying. In one, first-aid instructions are displayed in a restaurant; in another, a girl plays violin for her father, who reads a newspaper in front of a TV. Huang (b. 1984) received a Taishin Arts Award last year and the Taipei Arts Award in 2011.
■ Project Fulfill Art Space (就在藝術空間), 2, Alley 45, Ln 147, Xinyi Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市信義路三段147巷45弄2號), tel: (02) 2707-6942. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 1pm to 7pm
■ Until June 30
The Edge of Darkness — Solo Exhibition by Lo Chan-Peng (黑的邊緣 — 羅展鵬個展) offers a simulation of going to the movies. Pop artist Lo Chan-peng (羅展鵬), who hails from the so-called Strawberry Generation, is showing his latest portraits of ashen young people who seem to cry under the gaze. Just as the audience in a movie theater can become wholly immersed in the big screen, Lo’s subjects compel viewers to look harder and to forget all about themselves in the darkness.
■ Aki Gallery (也趣藝廊), 141 Minzu W Rd, Taipei City (台北市民族西路141號), tel: (02) 2599-1171. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from noon to 6:30pm
■ Until June 30
Shinji Ohmaki uses Taiwan’s endangered flowers in Tree of Life-form/Substance, a solo show in Taipei. In an extension of his Echoes-Infinity series, Ohmaki paints Taiwan’s rarest flowers on local textiles, creating a giant carpet that blooms with kaleidoscopic spots. Viewers are invited to tread on the paint blossoms, which bleed into the carpet and gradually blur in a playful metaphor for the contact between civilization and nature. In another room, Ohmaki uses real oak branches, powder paintings and images of trees to explore themes from Adam and Eve’s Fall in the Garden of Eden.
■ Mind Set Art Center (安卓藝術), 16-1, Xinsheng S Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市新生南路三段16-1號), tel: (02) 2365-6008. Tuesdays to Sunday 2pm to 6pm
■ Opening reception on Sunday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Until August 18
Local eighth graders bring art projects to the MOCA Studio Underground in Howdy? Goody-goody! Flash mob! (怪怪？乖乖! 快閃!!). This exhibit gets its exclamation-pointed title from an actual flash mob routine, one of four projects that students produced with a little help from artist Ye Yu-jun (葉育君). You won’t get flash mobbed at the gallery, but all of the students’ inanimate works are there: colorful cardboard box masks, restyled school uniforms and images of Jan Cheng Junior High School (建成國中) that are reconstructed into fun and surreal postcards. Ye, a Paris-trained artist who works mainly with video installation, sound and performance art, was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (台北當代藝術館)to teach public-school students and help them develop art projects over eight weeks.