CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK
Hong Kong — Odds and Ends is pleased to present Chips Off The Old Block, a two-person exhibition featuring new works by Canadian artists Billy Cheung and Scott Sueme. This exhibition marks the pair’s first presentation in Asia, bringing together the ceramics of Cheung and the assemblage paintings of Sueme in an exploration of creative synergy between contemporaries and studio mates. Chips Off The Old Block will be on view from 15th December 2022 to 28th January 2023, with an opening reception on 15th December 2022 from 6-9pm.
Titled Chips Off The Old Block, this exhibition explores idiomatic parallels between genetic heritability and the creative forces that shape Cheung and Sueme’s practices. To both, the aetiology of creativity is ingrained in the generative nature of art-making, the process of which is defined by the synergistic interactions of historical, cultural and technical studies. Through their latest series, both artists share habits of mind in recognising the atomic foundation of art-making, while seeking individualistic approaches to expand and heterogenise the concept and process of creation.
Ceramicist Billy Cheung’s latest body of work addresses socio-cultural aspects of creativity in the context of Asian diasporic experience, conceptualising social disequilibrium in a collection of sculptural ceramics. As a Cantonese immigrant living in Canada, Cheung approaches his studio practice with the same grit and wit he inherited from his parents. The conceptual and technical process of Cheung’s studio practice is informed by a sense of displacement andcultural misalignment that has permeated his household and the wider Asian diasporic community. In his search for cultural belonging, Cheung developed an interest in organic sculptural form that lends itself seamlessly to his latest body of work. Sculptural and grotesque, his ceramics draw from qualities inherent to the material and process of working clay, visually and tactfully referencing the expressive nature of their shapes while addressing issues of social belonging and otherness. “Every piece tells a story of individuality, tracing boundaries of bodily curves between those who belong and those who don’t […] My new work is about finding the connection with our ancestors that shape who we are as individuals in the present, yet sharing common traits with one another. I feel like my body of collective work speak on the strength of heterogeneity and its ability to build bonds through communal union.” Through his latest body of ceramics, Cheung dissects the medium’s ability to convey emotional literacy, shape expressionism, and form language.
To artist Scott Sueme, the concept of creative heritability manifests in both technical and conceptual forms. As an abstract painter, Sueme’s interest in the generative forces of painting is rooted in the removal of premeditation from the act of making. Built on a growing vocabulary of form, pattern, and symbol, Sueme’s latest series of assemblage paintings draw parallels between the natural processes of cellular biology and the generative power of abstraction. Woven by a labyrinth of visual components, Sueme relies on the relational familiarity of colours, the natural compatibility of materials, and the intuitive unification of the two in the formation of his assemblage paintings. Likening the creative process to that of driving home on a dark road, Sueme says “You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip home that way. It allows for new compositions in paintings that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to create, if I was working from a draft. It removes my own agency to allow for something new to bubble up from the surface and surprise me.” In a creation process that mimics children block play, the physical assemblage of Sueme’s paintings emphasises intuitive exploration while working within the framework of abstract painting. The synergistic effects of which is achieved by a faithful reliance on our subconscious, imagination and intuition in both the creation and reception of abstract art.