Lulu NGIE: Relax until distraction comes
12 October –16 November 2019
Opening: 12 October 2019, 4 - 7 pm
Gallery EXIT is pleased to announce "Relax until distraction comes", a solo exhibition of new works by Lulu NGIE. The exhibition will open on 12 October 2019 and remain on view through 9 November 2019. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, 12 October from 4pm to 7pm.
Comprising both oil and ink paintings, NGIE's latest exhibition reveals a whole universe of emotions. Some of the works explore feelings such as joy and hope, while others deal with the anger and despair the Hong Kong artist felt during the political crisis in her hometown, when injustice and human rights violations left her struggling for inner balance.
NGIE's work revolves almost exclusively around the human figure. Its shape is reduced to the absolute minimum: a few brushstrokes mark the outline of the body. The face is a simple oval, with eyes, nose and hair barely hinted at. There is no mouth – in the space where these figures exist, words are not needed.
Her paintings often show interactions between two or more figures. They reach towards each other; they point; they touch. We see them sitting, walking or dancing together, with entangled limbs that end in delicately drawn hands and feet. Extending from a body that is merely suggested, they are social tools as well as powerful signifiers of emotion.
The stark reduction of the figures is a result of NGIE's longstanding practice of ink painting, an unforgiving medium that forces the artist to consider every brushstroke. In her oil paintings, she uses colour in an equally deliberate way. Only parts of the canvas are filled with barely shaded red, blue, green or yellow. Rather than describing visual appearance, these patches are vehicles for emotion.
The dynamic composition of many paintings suggests that their protagonists are engaged in a process. They constantly reevaluate their place relative to others or look inwards to examine the ebb and flow of their feelings. Emotions arise and fade away, just as relationships evolve and fall apart. By embracing these changes, NGIE's work embraces life itself.
The circumstances in which the figures find themselves are not always easy to decipher. NGIE's works are deeply personal, at times even cryptic. Looking at them can feel like listening in on someone talking to themselves. We may not always understand these solitary conversations, but anyone who has struggled with adversity will find it hard not to be moved by their deep humanity.
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