Sky, Night, Silver and Words: four artists in exhibition
The connection between nature and words is explored in Art Statements Gallery's latest exhibition Sky, Night, Silver and Words, which features works by four international artists: Troels Worsel from Denmark, Andy Wauman from Belgium, JonOne, an American artist based in France, and Dale Frank from Australia.
Gallery founder Dominique Perregaux curated the show around the use of words and natural materials in art. While "natural elements" are external to humans, words are a tool ingrained in our everyday life, he adds.
By presenting these media alongside one another, Perregaux hopes to make sense of how humans interpret themselves and their relationship with the natural world. "Humans are part of nature; but we have also created things that go beyond the natural state, such as words, language and art," he says. "These artists use words and natural elements to create a reflection of what makes us human."
The four artists selected for the exhibition represent a range of art forms and will each present their own interpretation of the theme.
Worsel, a self-taught painter whose interests lie in pop art and conceptual art, will feature acrylic paintings that include words and calligraphy imprinted on the canvas. He has won awards for his unique method of painting on the reverse of the canvas and this technique will help highlight the metal element of the frame.
Frank is a contemporary artist, whose career spans more than 25 years. He is known for his abstract style and the technique of pouring paint directly onto the canvas and his paintings are displayed in almost every major public collection in Australia. In this exhibition, the artist's works feature natural materials, such as aluminium pigments and varnish that are poured onto the piece.
Wauman's contemporary artworks typically involve words that speak about the possibility of freedom. In his statements, he often uses images that have been violated, multiplied and commercialised, and returns their former meaning through creative interpretations. One of his pieces is entirely made from stainless steel.
Graffiti artist JonOne began his career painting street art on the walls and trains of New York with spray cans. He has since turned his attention to the more conventional canvas medium. He draws inspiration from Jackson Pollock and Sam Francis, but remains heavily influenced by street art techniques, which include the prominent use of words and calligraphy.
Perregaux says calligraphy has, for centuries, been treated as an art form in this region. "Having this perspective, Asian viewers can then compare the use of words — their reasons, their meaning, the way they are presented, and so on — in Western art and Asian art," he says. "This adds a dimension to the core concept and theme of the show."
The 6,500 sq ft Wong Chuk Hang venue, which Perregaux moved into in 2012, is ideal for this show. The art dealer says, like most galleries in the area, the scale of their spaces means they have almost no restrictions in the art and artists they want to exhibit: "Big spaces allow us to show larger pieces of art for maximum impact.
"It gives us the freedom to develop exhibitions with a focus on the concept, visual and cultural impact without being restricted by commercial or size considerations."
He adds that it is always difficult to set up a group exhibition with very different artists using different media, and manage to maintain a visual and conceptual balance and coherence. Using large spaces allows the pieces to "breathe". "The group show should be taken as a whole to understand better the core concept that brings together such artists," says Perregaux.
"Yet the large space also allows each art work to be taken individually. Visitors can comfortably take in the emotion or concept expressed by each artist."
To further engage the viewers, some works from this exhibition feature cryptic messages to be deciphered: "These pieces require viewers to guess what the artist wants to say. This personal interpretation is part of the reflection process. What each person gets from the artwork is a reflection of who they are."
Perregaux notes that the combination of words and art will provide a fresh experience for the audience. "We use different parts of our brains to view words and art. This synthesis of emotions and viewpoints is very engaging," he says.
Art Statements, Gee Chang Hong Centre, Factory D, 8/F, 65 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, June 16 to July 31, Tuesday to Saturday 12pm -6pm