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Mao Lizi and Simon Wee
20 September 2016 - 31 October 2014 (Reception: 19 September 2014)
Mao Lizi’s Ambiguous Flowers (“花非花”) series of semi-representational, semi-abstract oils on canvas hybridises realism and spontaneous abstract expression in a visionary and distinctive manner. His recent works have led to his being likened to a contemporary Qi Baishi, who once said that the poetic essence of a painting lies somewhere between likeness and unlikeness. The result of years of experimentation, this series marks the manifestation of a new important phase of Mao’s artmaking. Fusing his admiration for the contingency of Chinese traditional ink paintings and the spontaneous, free-form expressionism of Western modern art with a meditative philosophical and spiritual rigour, these works culminate in a Zen-like style that conflates and dances between multiple dualities at once: between the representational and the abstract, the real and the illusionary or potentiality, active dynamism and passive stativity. What results is a purely contingent space of infinite potentiality and freedom.
Simon Wee’s series of works showcases seemingly simple calligraphic strokes in otherwise blank space, strongly evocative of a Zen-like imagery. White, black and gold take precedence as the primary colours in these works marking a return to the artist’s signature style, using rice paper as the chosen medium. Each of these fluid and strongly rhythmic gestural brushstrokes serves both as a reflection and a unification of the yin-yang duality, interdependence and intertransformation of the artist’s inner state with the outer physical world. A natural extension of the artist’s inner recesses, these works exert a keen profundity in apparent simplicity.