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ART CENTRAL
2023 (B2)

March 22 - 25, 2023  |  Opening Hours and Ticketing

SAMMI MAK
 

Hong Kong — Odds and Ends is pleased to present Hong Kong artist Sammi Mak at this year’s Art Central as part of its Duk Dak Solo Presentation. Presenting a solo booth of new abstract paintings, Mak delves into the realm of poetry by replacing linguistics with visual forms of communication, inventing systems of painted lexicology that communicate recalled memory. In her exploration of human memory and emotions, Mak’s paintings emphasise the radical beauty of nature and employs elemental cues that draw viewers into her painted oasis, simulating states of nostalgia through references to classical poetry and mythology.
 

Sammi Mak_Eros The Bittersweet 1-13, 15-19, 21, 24, 2022, Oil on plywood, set of 20, 10 x

Sammi Mak, Eros The Bittersweet 1-13, 15-19, 21, 24, 2022, Oil on plywood, set of 20, 10 x 16 or 11 x 15 cm

A continued source of inspiration for Mak are poets Sappho and Anne Carson, the allure both hold in Mak’s practice is rooted in their female centric depictions of human relationships, bitterness of love, and enduring cultural relevance of tragic love. The stylistic translation of Sappho’s fragmented poems by Anne Carson inspired Mak to embrace the blank space of a canvas. Echoing Sappho’s partially survived poetry jigsaws, Mak attempts to create a painted syntax that translates poetic and linguistic value through painting. Eros The Bittersweet, 2022 is a set of painting on plywood in response to Anne Carson's book of the same title which dissects themes of love and loss, originally addressed in classical poem Sappho 31. In this series, Mak draws parallels between the process of monotype printing and internalised inheritance of culture. Inspired by Carson’s observation of the temporal and cultural transcendent definition of love by loss, Mak mimics the literary preservation of cultural ideologies through monotype printing. The mirrored effect of direct transferral of paint from one plate to another creates a continuous line of sight that translates the natural motion of paint, creating a romantic landscape of soft strokes and hues.

Sammi Mak_To somewhere we have never been to, 2018, Acrylic, oil, soft pastels, graphite,

Sammi Mak, To Somewhere We Have Never Been To, 2018, Acrylic, oil, soft pastels, graphite, crayon on canvas, 300 x 290 cm

Mak's interpretive approach to painting naturally manifests in loose and gestural forms that rely less on compositional refinement, and more on chance and relational familiarity of paint. Her compositions are fluid and unapologetically romantic, embracing the juxtaposition between negative space and fragmented mark making. It is within this technical framework that Mak simulates abstract emotions associated with romance, memory and nostalgia. In To Somewhere We Have Never Been To, 2018, Mak takes inspiration from Wong Kar Wai’s 1997 film, Happy Together, in her exploration of 
memory and place. The painting is a visual translation of Mak’s emotional navigation through the Igazu Falls as depicted in the film. The sheer scale of the canvas echoes the overwhelming and delirious cycles of love the protagonists experience in the film, triggering feelings of ache and exhilaration of love at its heart-tearing extremes.
 

Sammi Mak, If We Go On You Can Take Me To Afar, 2022, Oil and distemper with rabbit skin g

Sammi Mak, If We Go On You Can Take Me To Afar, 2022, Oil and distemper with rabbit skin glue on canvas, 181 x 214 cm

Similarly in If We Go On You Can Take Me To Afar, 2022, Mak explores our memory’s emotional associations by adopting high degrees of non-referentiality, creating an abstract emotive composition that echoes our neurological recall of memory. Her synergistic use of sparse mark-making and negative space to create a highly gestural composition frees the painting from its servitude and referentiality, exuding poetic charges akin to the great poets she is influenced by. 
 

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