The Call of the Green
Contemporary by Angela Li is pleased to present The Call of the Green, a joint exhibition curated by Eric Shiu-kee Leung. A novel entitled The Call of the Wild was published in 1903 by American author Jack London, which tells a story of a dog named Buck going through sufferings and ultimately returned to the wild. The desire to be free and the longing to return to the wild is simply part of animals’ nature. Humans feel the call of nature even more so now because our lives have been turned upside down in the epidemic; we hope to free ourselves from all kinds of restraints by getting closer to mother earth. Contemporary by Angela Li invites eight artists to participate in the exhibition, whose works focus on the theme of nature, to examine urbanisation and explore human connections with the natural world. The Call of the Green is on view from June 3 – July 4, 2020.
Robert O’Brien was born in the UK in 1939 and has settled in Cheung Chau for the last 44 years since his move to Hong Kong. He is fascinated by the tranquillity of this outlying island and enjoys painting outdoors. His works not only celebrate the beauty of nature, but also explore the complex interrelationship between the land and human experience. With an academic background in Theatre Design, O’Brien’s paintings often contain interactive elements and movable components. Three of his landscape oil paintings in the form of windows are included in the exhibition; the movable side panels create interesting visual and interactive experiences, bringing viewers through a recollection of the magnificent scenery of Cheung Chau through different time in history.
Cho Yeou Jui is a well-respected artist from Taiwan and has resided in Hong Kong since 2005. She is best known for her poetic photorealism paintings of landscapes in the 70’s. In recent years, characteristics of Chinese painting can be seen in the artist’s oeuvre; traces of vivid water stains and mesmerising reflection of lights and shadows create captivating yet illusionary visual impressions. This exhibition showcases Cho’s Spinning Series, this series evokes a sense of sentimentality especially under the current circumstance.
Hong Kong born mid-career artist Alex Kin Fung Heung specializes in richly coloured paintings of animals and landscapes that explore the balance and conflict between nature, life and the city. A painting entitled The Double Life of Birds tells a story of two birds encountering one another on Siu A Chau, facing the crossroad to decide between nature and the city that potentially leads to polarising destinies.
Born in the 80’s, plein air landscapes is the essence of Stephen Chun Hei Wong’s paintings. Wong’s paintings are his personal visual diary, documenting his love for the nature and his visual experience throughout his hikes in Hong Kong. In one of the works in the exhibition The Painter by the Cliff, Wong painted himself in the background, pondering the meaning of individual existence from another point of view.
Emerging young artist Wong Yan Yan enjoys overlapping cityscapes and her imaginary dimensions in her brilliantly coloured paintings. A caged hummingbird that is depicted in a painting titled Sim City is a metaphor of the desire for nature.
Japan-based Macau artist Season Sin Hang Lao is a multidisciplinary artist who strives to present his photographic works in the style of Chinese ink art. Lotuses in the exhibition is a photography work that retains the appearance and harmony of an ink painting, achieved through the printing on handmade paper with ink-like tone. The composition of broken lotuses further adopts the principles of Eastern philosophy as Lao celebrates all things in nature with simplicity through the technique of leaving blank (liu bai) in the work.
The Call of the Green also showcases three-dimensional works in the exhibition. Hong Kong artist Tenme Sze Fong Kwan is a graduate of the Chinese Painting Department of Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. In recent years, Kwan focuses on exploring the relationships between urban and nature through the use of concrete as her medium. She casts home grown harvests such as fruits and vegetables into cement sculptures in an urban farm beside her rooftop studio, alternating organic life and construction materials within a concrete jungle and investigating the co-existence of nature and city. This exhibition includes sculptures of string beans, potatoes and gourds, turning normal fruits and vegetables into contemporary art with a hint of the feeling of ink art.
Local mixed media artist Jaffa Laam Lam is well known for her wood carved sculptures. She creates wooden branch-like sculptures with the assemblage of recycled wood, giving recycled materials second lives. This exhibition showcases one new and one previous works of Lam. Pillow Halo, produced in 2013, is a recollection of her intimate conversation with the late sculptor Hin Yeung Mak in her dream. The new work entitled Equal = Unequal is a continuation of their virtual conversation as the artist carries on their fictitious conversation on Hong Kong. Two pale white florescent tubes resembling the sign of ‘=’ rest on black painted wood branches, symbolising the increasingly blurring of truth and lies, and the right and wrong. All works in this exhibition reflect on the relationship between man and nature across diverse mediums, allowing viewers to escape from the current restlessness and reflects on fundamental issues that impact us as humans.