Born only in 1982, Guo Hongwei somehow defies the expectations of his generation in his fascination with the endless possibilities of the medium of painting. For this reason his work demonstrates to us at Chambers the undiminished relevance and vibrancy of the practice of painting in China today.
Things – Guo Hongwei’s New Works features a sequence of recent works. The first series is made up of large-format watercolor works on paper that evoke a private family photograph album. These blotched childhood memories are poignant but somehow remain skillfully unsentimental.
The second series in the show includes oil and watercolor works in which Guo Hongwei has further developed his blurring painterly style but with a new direction in subject matter. Here, he depicts everyday objects such as chairs, toothbrushes, paper cups and cacti often viewed from unexpected angles. In these works he again succeeds in endowing these everyday subjects with youthful tenderness as well as a kind of energetic directness.
For us, the key that unlocks the narrative within Things – Guo Hongwei’s New Works lies in a further set of works included in the show. The first is a simple watercolor on paper showing the corner of an empty room and the second is a series of studies of human skulls. These works clearly refer to period of regeneration and recuperation that the artist recently spent in his native Sichuan. A time during which he allowed himself to engage in a contemplation of life and a compulsive observing and re-viewing of his immediate surroundings. The result of this is, we believe, a capacity to experience fully these everyday subjects and to imbue them with an undeniable presence, meaning and importance.
Things – Hong Guowei’s New Works
Chambers Fine Art Gallery