Following the successful inaugural exhibition that introduced Hong Kong’s newest gallery venue located at 9 Queen’s Road Central, Woaw Gallery is pleased to present Shape of An Image, a new group exhibition from 21 May 2021, to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong week. Shape of an Image will bring a selection of works curated by Juxtapoz magazine’s contributing editor, writer and curator Sasha Bogojev.
The show highlights the contemporary practice to transcend the image from its initial flatness towards a three-dimensional sculptural rendering through the use of paint's materiality and/or additional materials. Whether incorporating complex textures (Mahsa Merci, Laura Sanders, Paco Pomet, Mr Starcity), utilizing the surface of the work as part of an image (Friedrich Kunath, Ben Quilty, Kim Dorland), manipulating thick layers of paint as a sculpting material (Shaina Mccoy, Jose Lerma, Nicolas Holiber), or elevating the image with additional mediums and structures (Chloe Chiasson, Floris Van Look, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Miguel Angel Payano Jr, Moises Salazar), these artists not frequently surpassing the mere rendition and are working towards shaping their imagery.
After centuries of working with flat, smooth, or blended painting styles it was the late 16th century when painters started showing interest in elevating their work above the monotonous surface of their support. First noticed in the works by Titian in Italy or Peter Paul Rubens in Belgium, elaborated by Diego Velázquez in Spain, and Rembrandt or Johannes Vermeer in The Netherlands, the artists started utilizing the materiality of the paint in order to accentuate the attributes of their imagery, add
texture, and ultimately create the volume and dimensionality of their pictures. The traditional brush and paint application and manipulation was soon replaced with the use of other tools as the artists explored the new technique to achieve newly developed objectives for their work. The new approach opened up new possibilities for depicting the light and allowed for an additional control over the ways the light was reflecting on the now textured surface. It also enabled the painters to approach the rendering in a more expressive manner, capturing their strength and speed as well as conveying additional emotions through the technical aspect of the work. And finally, it pushed the piece from its initial flatness to a three-dimensional sculptural rendering, empowering the artists to not only paint its impression, but create the shape of an image.
When speaking of impasto technique, the presentation will include a new work by the Spanish painter Paco Pomet whose monochrome alterations of vintage photographs are often elevated from the surface of canvas through thick layers of oils. Such use of oils also signifies the works by Australian painter Ben Quitly as well as their Canadian colleague Kim Dorland, and German-born and USA-based Friedrich Kunath. Back to Hong Kong since his solo show at White Cube in 2014, Kunath’s inclusion in the show coincides with his solo shows that are currently on view at Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium, as well as Travesía Cuatro in Mexico City.
On another hand, American artist Laura Sanders creates peculiar textures in order to accentuate the effects of the image she’s working with, while her fellow countryman, Mr Starcity, often mixes paint with other materials to create distinct surfaces of his Loverboy portrait series. Similar approach is seen in the paintings by Iranian artist Mahsa Merci whose portraiture series challenging the ideas of identity and gender differentiation are marked with an intricate and experimental brush work. The concept of accentuation of the image through thick layers of paint is further elaborated and somewhat abstracted by both Spanish artist Jose Lerma and American Shaina McCoy, and is culminating in the example by Christian Rex Van Minnen. As a nod to the efforts to explore the medium's material possibilities, the American artist pushes the painting medium to a clearly sculptural sphere.
Also interested in breaking away from the square format of the canvas, American artist Chloe Chiasson is assembling her pieces from different physical elements as well as different stylistic choices, evoking collage imagery. The sculptural approach is certainly taking over the painterly practice by the Belgian artist Floris Van Look who uses additional materials and objects to add literal volume and dimension to his work, a practice that is fully utilized in the mixed media works by Afro-Caribbean American artist Miguel Angel Payano Jr or Mexican artist Moises Salazar. Mixing fabric, fur, or ready-made objects, along with cutting, sewing, drawing, and sculpting, both artists’ works embody the culmination of the concept around which this entire exhibition revolves.