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Urban Spirituality: Contemporary Hong Kong Art

Exhibition preview

FROM September 29 to October 23, 2009, visitors to Rossi & Rossi will be able to see the works of five Hong Kong artists presented by Grotto Fine Art, their first show in London entitled Urban Spirituality: Contemporary Hong Kong Art.

Bovey Lee is an artist with dual training in painting and digital art. Her new collection of paper cut-out drawings explores the issues of identity and her own bicultural experiences as a Hong Kong Chinese living in America. Both positive and negative imageries in her drawings, formed by meticulous cut-outs on a singular picture plane, express the artist’s feelings of displacement and tension.

In Lee’s most recent works, the artist has tried to deconstruct and reconstruct her body by transforming her own body parts into landscape, portrait and still life. It is the artist’s intention to demonstrate the increasingly intertwined and inseparable combination of nature, humanity and technology, as well as her critical perspective on the moral issues surrounding the fabrication of multiple identities.

Born in Hong Kong in 1969, Bovey Lee received her BA in fine art from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1991), MFA in painting from UC Berkeley (1995), and MFA in digital arts from Pratt Institute in NY (2000). Lee’s works are collected by institutions and private collections.

Focusing on linear narrative, Joey Leung delivers her message through fragments of scenes that resemble traditional comics. The story line, however, features her interpretation of today’s society and humanity in raw satire or cynicism. Vanity, greed and self-indulgence are all common themes in this exhibition that collectively projects a personal response to the social environment and changes in Hong Kong.

An important aspect of Leung’s work lies in her personal inscriptions. They are poems of Cantonese origin while the painted scenes resemble monochromatic paintings of the Yuan and Ming dynasties. This classical relationship between words and images thus successfully bridges the gap between classicism and modernism in otherwise social comical scenes.

Leung is an independent artist based in Hong Kong. She received her BA and MA from the Chinese University in 2000 and 2007 respectively. Leung’s works are widely collected and her poster works have been exhibited at The Trnava Poster Triennial 2003 (Czech) and the International Poster Triennial in Toyama, Japan, 2003.

Through her unparalleled drawing skills, Angela Su presents her interpretation of the human skeleton in raw anatomical renderings while her embroidery brings to light the possibility of intricate design and creative juxtaposition. In her unique anatomical world, Su weaves together dreams and alchemy in forming a completely enigmatic vision of nature and the human existence.

Su is also an independent artist based in Hong Kong, graduating in 1990 from the University of Toronto and in 1994 from the Ontario College of Art, Canada. She has held one-woman exhibitions in Singapore and Hong Kong and has participated in group exhibitions including the Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in Shenzhen, China and Reversing Horizons, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai.

Halley Cheng, born 1986, is a Hong Kong artist whose artistic career spans a decade despite his young age. Having mastered ancient landscape painting at an early age, Cheng entered the Chinese University Fine Arts department with a repertoire of skills.

Upon graduation, he focused on a collection of imitations of ancient masterpieces. Instead of forging an exact copy, Cheng aimed to recreate the appearance of the subject with new media such as charcoal, biro, adhesive tiles and pencil – even the border of the painting is redone to create a new visual boundary. It is through this interaction of media that a synergy of expression becomes contemporary and relevant to the artist’s roots and age.

Wilson Shieh uses gongbi (a fine and meticulous brush technique popularised during the Song and Tang dynasties) to connect the past and the present through various interplays of metaphors and symbols. Shieh is an admirable artist not only because of his extraordinary painting skills, but also his ability to truly “modernise” the Chinese painting tradition without it being “westernised”.

Born in Hong Kong in 1970, Shieh received his BA (1994) and MA (2001) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1997, he was the winner (painting category) of the Philippe Charriol Foundation Art Competition. He has won numerous artist-in-residency programmes and participated in exhibitions around the world such as the Loewe 160 Exhibition in Spain (2006), the Asia Society 50th Anniversary Exhibition in New York (2006) and the Chengdu Biennial (2007).

Shieh’s works are in the collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and the Philippe Charriol Foundation.

Rossi & Rossi, 16 Clifford Street, London W1