11th May – 5th June 2021
5/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is often regarded as the pioneer of abstract art, but arguably the roots of abstraction go back much earlier. J.M.W.Turner became known as 'the painter of
light', because of his increasing interest in brilliant colours in his landscapes and seascapes. In the late 19th century, Claude Monet used colour and light to capture the essence of a scene. His “Impression, Sunrise”, after which the Impressionist movement was named, broke away from traditional landscape painting.
The early 20th century saw a revolution in the art world in which artists moved even further away from representational art. Instead of creating an accurate depiction of a visual reality, they used shapes, colours,
forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. A number of artists practised varying degrees of abstraction, for example, the Fauvism of Henri Matisse, and the Cubism of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. These movements were a precursor to later totally abstract art movements such as Orphism, Optical Art and most prominently, Abstract Expressionism. By mid-century, Mark Rothko was creating colour field paintings, detached from the material world, offering another way of seeing the national environment.
Artists in the 21st century continue to push boundaries, exploring different media and means of personal expression. Whether totally abstract or a merging of the figurative and abstract, the best works are a true expression of the artist’s thoughts and emotions.
Abstract Landscapes - Hong Kong Exhibition April 2021
Vanessa Berlein (b. 1968) was born in South Africa and studied fine art at Technikon Natal, Durban. Since 1987, she has worked full time as a fine artist, predominantly working in paint, although she has experimented in photography, print medium and sculpture. After seeing a Mark Rothko exhibition in London in 1998, she began to experiment with abstract images, concentrating on the effects of colour, light and various media, such as beeswax, industrial varnishes, building materials and metal leaf. Berlein currently lives and works in Cape Town. Her work is concerned with human emotional responses and the relationships between individuals,and with the landscape. She creates abstract works characterised by intense, bleeding colours and intriguing combinations of light and shadow.
Paul Hughes (b. 1966) was born and raised in Dublin. In 2009 his first exhibition of abstract landscapes focusing on depicting light above and below horizons, was held in Dublin to great acclaim, leading to his first solo show in London at the King’s Road Gallery. Since then, he has had further successful exhibitions in London and his work has been launched by Tanya Baxter Contemporary in Asia.
Hughes has always had an obsession with light, particularly the beautiful chiaroscuro around Dublin Bay. His work is constantly evolving: in his latest project, The InfinitePossibilities of The Space Between, he has endeavoured to break out of the restraints of seascapes and to deconstruct everything to pure colour expression, in which the darker spaces give the light its intensity.
The works invite viewers to dive headlong into the infinite spaces, or wherever the mind and imagination may take them.
Benjamin Warner was born in Cornwall in 1970. After graduating from Falmouth School of Art & Design, he moved to London to pursue a career in illustration, working with clients across the world including Toyota, Honda and Penguin Books. In 2004 he returned to Cornwall to focus on his painting. Inspired especially by the landscapes of Turner, Warner habitually builds up an image on the canvas, then scrapes and rubs it back down, reapplying paint and glazes. In this way, he succeeds in capturing light and atmosphere.
He says, “For me, the essence of painting is all about the paint itself, its colour and texture... My technique for applying the medium rarely results in visible brushstrokes, lending an air of obliqueness to the process as well as the subject. This ambiguity is further enhanced by my preference for painting at the margins of the day.”