Elements of Transcendence
15 June – 31 August 2019
Ben Brown Fine Arts is thrilled to present a summer group exhibition, Elements of Transcendence, at the Hong Kong gallery. The exhibition brings together the work of four artists who explore spirituality through their artwork, employing various artistic techniques and practices, historical and autobiographical references, and imagery and symbolism ranging from abstraction to realism. The output of these four international artists, Miya Ando, Kitty Chou, Hyon Gyon and Lucy Liu, is informed by both Eastern and Western influences and experiences, resulting in a poignant and provocative conversation within the gallery walls.
Ando explores the transformation of metals, wood and glass through varying techniques, from burnishing and charring to intermingling with elements such as silver nitrate, resin, gold and mica, producing subtle gradations of color and texture that suggest changing atmospheric conditions in nature. There is a duality to her wall pieces and sculptures – the foundation of metal and wood suggest permanence and solidity, while their altered surfaces are infused with the artist’s spiritual investigations and create a meditation on the ephemerality of the natural world.
Ando has had recent solo exhibitions at The Noguchi Museum, New York, and Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia, and her work is included in numerous public and private collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Detroit, Michigan; and Luft Museum, Amberg, Germany. Ando is a descendant of Bizen swordsmiths and spent part of her childhood among Buddhist priests at a temple in Okayama, Japan. Ando holds a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, studied East Asian Studies at Yale University and Stanford University, and apprenticed with a Master Metalsmith at Hattori Studio, Japan.
Chou’s enigmatic photographs are rooted in familiar subject matter– trees, doorways, bodies of water – yet through her lense they are transformed into the extraordinary, resulting in semi-abstract, ethereal, optical compositions that challenge perceptions of reality. Chou selected the three works in the exhibition as embodiments of her notions of Buddhist philosophy. Chou photographs her subjects with a simple digital camera and abstains from any form of staging in her creative process. Her images are the product of chance encounter, careful composition and captured moment.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Kitty Chou holds bachelor’s degrees from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the New York School of Interior Design. Her photographs have been exhibited in Hong Kong, London, Malta, New York, Paris and Taiwan. In 2013 and 2016 Chou was nominated for the Prix Pictet prize. Chou has had two solo exhibitions at Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong and one solo exhibition at Ben Brown Fine Arts London.
Hyon Gyon addresses highly charged and personal themes, such as shamanism, grief, catharsis, stigma, cultural identity and sexual politics, through her paintings, sculpture, installations and performances. The exhibition includes several portraits and still- lifes that are created by layering and burning traditional Korean silk fabrics with a soldering iron, melting the shredded silk into foam board on canvas. A rare early work is also included in the exhibition, demonstrating the artist’s traditional painting background and incorporating Korean and Japanese cultural and folkloric references.
Born in South Korea, Hyon Gyon holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from Mokwon University, South Korea, and both a master’s degree and doctoral degree in painting from Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan. Hyon Gyon’s work has been exhibited internationally at institutions including Parasol Unit, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Kyoto, Japan; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and is included in many public and private collections such as Takahashi Collection, Japan; Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Hyon Gyon had a solo exhibition in 2017 at Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong.
Liu’s mixed media installation, Seventy Two, is comprised of seventy-two calligraphic ink paintings inspired by ancient Jewish mysticism and Eastern philosophy and is accompanied by a book of texts relating to each component. Liu explores spirituality, religion and identity through the lense of both Eastern and Western experience in her paintings, photographs, collages and installations. Liu holds a bachelor’s degree in Asian Languages and Culture from the University of Michigan, studied photography at Beijing Normal University and studied painting at the New York Studio School. Liu’s work was recently included in a group exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore and is included in many prominent public and private collections. Liu currently lives in New York.
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