Under Construction//在建设中 2003-2015

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Paul Klee, “Angelus Novus”

The 21st century: the accumulation of things, and the destruction of the same is so close to us on a daily basis. Though our aesthetic wants to resist the idea of an absolute, it yet may help us make sense of the idea that all the cities of the world have been laid foundation, post, and lintel upon a fire-filled rock that has been hurtling at speeds of 100,000 miles per hour around a massive ball of fire floating in the heavens 93 million miles away. Despite our perception of Paradise and Earth, the heavens are storming and Calvino’s “inferno” is boiling. We are involved in something—life and history—that always seems to have been just on the verge of catastrophe.

The “Under Construction” body of works are two dimensional organic explorations of architectural forms, relationships built of marks and color fields that are held loosely together in a structure suggested by scaffolding and semi-transparent cloth. The imagery and palette are taken from the building sites of the urban Chinese landscape and begin to suggest figurative qualities, and dream cities.  The explorative, creative nature of the painting and drawing process is reflected in the layering of transparent media, inspired by the muted light of an acetylene torch’s glow deep within cloth-swaddled building shells, or as the lightbulb illuminates a migrant worker’s transitional home on the 23rd oor of an unfinished high-rise.  The creative and playful use of liquid media in some sense allows a naturally selective process to interact with intuitive decisions to edit and define the form that each drawing or painting will take during the “building” process.

When so much of our past is being either discarded or shunned, or perhaps relegated to knowledge suited only for classification instead of application, can we see one angelic hand —the Editor —furiously at work amidst the carnage of environment and society? Can we perceive the other hand —the Creator —as it beckons to us? What stories still resound within our hearts?


A selection of photos of high rises and night markets, 2003-2005:

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