Expanding Horizons: Manufacturing New Landscapes is the second part of the group exhibition series highlighting contemporary landscape forms at Art + Shanghai Gallery.
While "The City" illustrated how economic reform and rapid industrialization have effected urban environments in China, "Expanding Horizons" explores landscapes as a means of expressing our contemporary world via realism, metaphor and abstraction. It is less about the literal representation of nature’s scenery and more concentrated on establishing a new vocabulary for landscape art.
The exhibition highlights key artistic practices that have recorded, communicated and shaped various artist approaches that speak to the diversity and historical traditions of landscape art. Featuring a range of media including painting, photography, video, and sound art, Expanding Horizons, represents the varied and rich visions of four diverse artists, living and working in China.
Cindy Ng’s new video and photo series builds on the concept of ink in motion. The flow of liquids over canvas and glass creates symmetry between the manipulated movement in her paintings and their natural shift into mountains and valleys. The abstract character of shifting shapes meld together and separate again to simulate a naturescape.
Ben Houge’s new work "Insomnia" manipulates recordings of moving bed sheets to create a pensive and wistful atmosphere. A sound and video installation Houge’s endless visual permutations are accompanied by a non-linear soundscape, shifting unpredictably alongside his images without any definable beginning or conclusion.
New works from Nial O’Connor, are far removed from the illustrator’s characteristic pencil and gouache drawings. He borrows from the early tradition of Australian landscape paintings by colonial painters widely known for their romantic, pastoral interpretations, which rendered scenery more representative of England than the Australian outback. Nial, however, consciously brings his heritage and visual memories of growing up in Australia into his current home in China, creating rich, mythical narratives.
Japanese artist, VIWA, likewise explores the cultural tradition of Japanese landscapes from the Edo Period. By examining the historical context and era in which decorative arts flourished in Japan, VIWA creates new images that bring to the surface cool historical references and design while incorporating elements of contemporary street art with reference to graffiti and illustration.
In addition to the regular exhibition, Shanghai based Spanish designer, Tucho Iglesias, will launch "China Green Robe" an art and design piece that emphasizes and explores the relationship between environmental awareness, traditional textiles and design. As an avid and serious collector of Qing Dynasty robes, China Green Robe is one part of the continuing CHAI-NA project founded by the designer in Shanghai in 2007 with commissioned contemporary works from local and foreign artists and designers.