Glary WU: A Sentimental Journey 胡愷昕《眼眸裡的花與火》
Glary WU: A Sentimental Journey
6 January – 3 February 2024
Gallery EXIT presents Glary Wu’s solo exhibition ‘A Sentimental Journey’, featuring a new series of nine oil paintings, on show from 6 January to 3 February, 2024. Like a visual journal, the exhibited new works record recent events during the time when Wu, experiencing a state of loss, went travelling with her intimate friends. In an attempt to extend her memories and personal feelings through these paintings, the artist engages in a private self-dialogue and self-discovery, in the process gaining more self-knowledge and grounding, reflecting on what the act of painting means for her.
In Wu’s paintings, scenes and characters from daily life are presented on the canvas as individual scenes from a stage play. Revolving around trivial happenings and interactions between people, her paintings are rich in imagination and narrative quality, with special attention to the interactions between the various elements and characters on the pictorial surface and associations evoked from the scenes. Compared with her other works previously exhibited at Gallery EXIT, also rendered in the warm soft tones with the sentimental and ambiguous quality of memory, the new works manifest a distinct change in painting technique, where flowing lines and blurry brushstrokes become bolder, while in terms of tone and atmosphere, old photograph-like brownish yellows and greens pervade and define the whole series.
In this visual journal are two kinds of records: First there are images made up of real scenes and events, sprinkled with Wu’s own associations. The protagonists are still the artist herself and people around her, but with more details and on a larger scale. The scenes in these large-scale paintings are clearly outlined with a direct reference to reality. Then there are the artist’s inner dialogues, set in fictional scenes with fictional characters in a fantastical composition. The details of the four small paintings are loosely rendered, the conveyance of the artist’s inner feelings and thoughts given priority over the recognisability of the scene.
Kombucha portrays the time when in a restaurant in Taitung Wu and her friend chatted with the restaurant owner, drinking kombucha, exchanging thoughts about land, bringing this work into fermentation. In the foreground is the table and the glass of golden kombucha; behind (or the world reflected in the glass of kombucha) sits a young woman in a yellow dress with a relaxed expression, savouring the moment in harmony with the surrounding environment. The figure of a lone young woman often appears: The woman in To be with walks down the steps in a bamboo forest, where the curving steps and fences, and the bamboo forest that occupy most of the upper part of the painting bring vitality and movement into the serene scene; while in Lemon and Mine and Retro-me the women in indoor scenes rendered in soft brushstrokes convey a kind of inner peace. The fantastical How to Train Your Dragon is inspired by the animation How to Train Your Dragon.
The largest painting in the exhibition, Self-therapy is Wu’s first attempt at large-scale diptych format and documents a year of honest dialogue with herself. Through the canvas, the artist talks to herself, faces and processes her emotions, trying to create a calm atmosphere in the painting. To the left amidst the dawn calmness, a young woman figure representing the artist is immersed in a green space. Slightly hunched over, she focuses on the small spring and reflection in front of her, which signifies the complex emotions such as surprise, anxiety, courage, loneliness that emerge from self-exploration and dialogue, a secret fountain in one’s heart.