Art reflecting critical issues of our times
The Space & Gallery Association (SGA) Shanghai is presenting "Through A Glass and Darkly," a group exhibition featuring paintings, sculptures, photography and installations by eight well-known Chinese artists, offering an array of visual reflections on critical issues in art, life and society.
As the title taken from a theological text suggests, the mirror image of ourselves through the reflection in others leads us to better explore our inner world and doubles as a way of approaching art. Applying glass reflections as a metaphor, the artists in this exhibition are projected into four pairs of concepts by independent curator Wang Kaimei.
The chapter "Attitude and Form" features abstract works by Ni Zhiqi and Liang Manqi, both of whom search for life's meaning in a figureless world but by different approaches.
Ni's monochromic paintings contain layers of folding, shaping, collaging and coloring of various materials, displaying his reflections on time, memory and emotion. Liang's abstract works deal with painting's basic elements – dots, lines and spheres. Her geometric patterns and designs generate an illusionary visual space that intrigues our cognitive perceptions.
Painters Xuan Chenhao and Zheng Wenxin dig into their respective "natural and social" field. Xuan depicts flora and fauna in nature with bright colors and multiple layers of textures, blurring the boundary between reality and his imagined world.
Zheng's paintings are inspired by the Internet's endless flow of data and examine how social media infiltrates people's daily lives. She adopts semi-transparent color blocks and silhouette-like figures, making it impossible for viewers to see clearly, much like the digital world where information we receive can be distorted.
In the chapter "Reality and Virtuality," artists Shi Zhiying and Shao Wenhuan display their interest in rocks, stones, waterfronts and seascapes, but through different media that create different visions. Shi's brushstrokes depict deep, stormy seas, inviting viewers to peer into her intuition about infinity and the vastness of nature, as well as the intersection of time and space.
Shao's 3D-modeled photographs are taken from his sketches of ancient Chinese landscape paintings but without their context, rendered with computer software that combines the real and the virtual, the natural and the artificial.
In the chapter "Biotic and Synthetic," Yang Xi's and Li Wenguang's works resonate with many people's uncertainty about the future. Yang's sculptures – engaging human and inanimate – made of synthetic materials emanating metallic luster in their otherworldly gestures seem to serve as a dress rehearsal for an inevitably doomed future.
Li creates his own science-fiction universe with his signature geometric patterns, employing a wide range of materials such as ink, oil, acrylic and chemical washes. Tapping into his vivid imagination, Li fabricates gargoyles in organic form with vivid bodies, limbs and heads.
Dates: Through August 14, 10am-6:30pm
Venue: Space & Gallery Association (SGA) Shanghai
Address: 3/F, 3 Zhongshan Rd E1