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Painterly Superimposition: The Solo Exhibition of Kuei-Hua Lin


Curator: Liting  Jian

Exhibition time: Sat. 10th September 2016 – Sat. 15th October 2016

Opening Party: Sat. 10th September 2016

Art Forum: Sat. 24th September 2016

Exhibition Introduction:

The drastic variation of human’s visual experiences caused by the development of technology and changing lifestyle often influences the artistic expression we create.  Consequently, artistic practice – or “the freedom of expression” as how we usually define it – celebrates not only the individual’s inner reaction but also the interrelation among one’s cultural experience, artistic context, the materiality of media, and the life journey of an individual.  Similarly, the effects of three different visual experiences can be discovered in Kuei-Hua Lin’s works: first of all, the context of “painterliness” in the tradition of painting; secondly, the camera angle in photography; thirdly, the dislocation of printing or superimposition in the image-based art history.

To begin with, “painterliness” is a term commonly used in art history, opposite to the concept of linearity.  Art historian Heinrich Wölfflin (1864-1945) has characterized the artistic transformation from Renaissance to Baroque as a change of style from linearity to painterliness.  According to him, linearity describes the clear and flat linear design popular in Renaissance art, while painterliness allows Baroque art to create a three-dimensional quality with curves, obscure contours, and a stronger chiaroscuro effect.  The contrast somewhat summarizes the spectrum of Western art – the former is more classical and restrained while the latter is more emotional and expressive.  In this respect, Lin’s art is closer to the painterly concept.  In her artmaking, she not only emphasizes the freedom of thoughts but also the freedom of painting executed by her hand.  Therefore, most of her previous works feature a greater spontaneity thanks to the flowing lines and dripping effect of water-based pigments.

The second visual experience is related to photography.  Her favorite composition is either an upward view or a close-up, a result of her habit of modeling photos of flora which she has taken in her journey.  In fact, the increasing accessibility to photography has made it a tool in painting, but the real impact on the practice of painting is in its cultural and visual aspect that photography provides a new camera-based perspective beyond the traditional composition in painting.  As a result, it is no longer required for a painting to establish a well-developed storytelling scene but encourages it to focus on the fragmented, partial, instant, photographic image.  Meanwhile, the detailed, close-up partial view further highlights the quality of painting as a form.

The third visual experience comes from the dislocation of printing and superimposition.  Nowadays, we may feel familiar with these kinds of effects caused by printing errors, chromatic errors, photographic multiple exposure or intentional superimposition.  Whether intentional or by mistake, the effects reveal the thin, flat, and accumulative quality of image itself.  Examples can be found in the artmaking process of Lin’s recent works, where she chooses various images of silhouette and makes them into several shaping plates, while she later applies layers of thick or thin acrylic paints on them.  The direction of the strokes and shapes is often intersecting the shaping plate’s composition, creating three layers of images, including the one painted with the plate covering, with it half covering, and with it removed.  The artmaking process reflects the thin-versus-thick relation between images and paints. With an intentional emphasis on its texture, it highlights a relief-like thickness variation between the part with plate covering and the part without.

Lin’s artistic practice is inspired by her life.  Simple subjects are her favorite, while the overall scene depiction in her earlier works is gradually replaced by partial views of flowers and fruits.  Similar to Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)’s dedication to still life painting and Mont Sainte-Victoire, Lin also adopts simple scenes and objects to elaborate her exploration of shapes.  Through the layers and artmaking procedure of her works, such as the techniques of emboss, fretwork, brushing, and reserving the background, we are invited into a dialogue between the layered painting and image itself.