Amelia Johnson Contemporary presents My Space, an exhibition featuring two Hong Kong artists, Wong Kai Kin
and David Smith.
Working generally in small-scale, the work of both Wong and Smith is figurative but otherwise wholly divergent in context and treatment. Wong uses the compact canvas to focus on tightly
constructed interior views. Smith explores vast sweeping landscapes
and cityscapes; but the modest dimensions of his work reflect a deliberate attempt to engage with the polarity of depicting open and elusive spaces intimately. Despite their differing subjects,
both artists succeed in evoking particular spaces while simultaneously disarming and dislocating the viewer.
Wong’s paintings examine domestic interiors. The particular interiors are views of show flats; his images borrowed
from black and white newspaper illustrations of architects computer
drawings. The artist’s coolly appropriated images evoke a sense of sterility and even isolation. Yet, these images
are not perfectly rendered copies of a digital image and there is a painterly quality to the work that endows the work with emotion.
The work presents the viewer with a proposition, but simultaneously refuses to provide conclusions.
In contrast to Wong’s work, David Smith employs washes and the chemical qualities of oil to produce vast sweeping vistas that unsettle but involve us. In his cityscapes, the identity of the city is marked by an interplay between man made elements like buildings, tankers, bridges and changeable environmental
conditions like weather and light. In his landscapes, an emphatic contrast is created between the respectful sincerity
engendered by big nature and the insignificance of man-made elements.
Certainly each image triggers the sublime, but the artist’s composition and deployment of paint also calls to mind atmospheric pollution or a post apocalyptic haze.
The work of both Wong and Smith concerns the space we occupy and has the capacity to evoke an uncompromising consideration of our existence within it.