About . CVShop︎

So Hollow, So pure

In this project 'So hollow, So pure', I am focused on the tradition of portrait painting, yet particularly the changes that have happened within the representation of the human subject through the advent of digital photography. The spaces that are opened to the portrait painter through these new media of digital photography are vast: there is an abundance of images in the world, and there are millions of faces. Yet the photographic media in its naked form is a blank substrate, onto which light and shadow are projected and it is the artist who gives the feeling and sensibility as well as additional aesthetic dimensions to that.

Here is the subject of my work: Painting as the reaction to the photographic perception-affected world. Unlike photography, painting no longer relies on flatness, instead it has branched out in the expanded field where I see paint as a sculptural material to add physicality to my portraits. Through the lens of portraiture I explore the possibility of painting medium through the synergy effect of the figurative & abstract painting and spontaneous methodology. I have attempted to create a conversation and balance between photographic realism of said source material and the sculptural materiality, abstraction and spontaneity of painting.

The face in my work is emptied of expression. They are blank figures, onto which we project – and from which I have painted. I have taken, in both the sense of action and appropriation, these photos, these faces, and have then used them for my paintings. The idea that the life of a being could be revealed through an appearance is negated in the blank looks, the washed out appearance of white stretches of canvas, and the thick, gristly paint that is mounded up in parts of the work. The sublimation of detail in broad strokes and empty canvas, or the congealed impasto surfaces are both stylistic and tortured, but made photographic bound to the image that is all pervasive in the world.

The contemporary subject has become disenchanted, bored, and fascinated with the image. These beautiful faces that I have stolen, these young, empty signs, they are just that: signs through which the vision of our desire is emptied and fractured.

Photos by Peter Cheng

First Solo Exhibition 'So Hollow, So pure',
Merenda Contemporary, WA, 2015