Lewis Lau, Come Again IV, 2014, Oil on canvas, 27 x 48 cm
Odds and Ends is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition “Something Blue”, a group exhibition featuring works by artists Peter Chan, Corn Ho, and Lewis Lau. The exhibition will run from April 14th to May 29th 2022, with a gallery opening reception on April 14th from 4 to 8 PM.
The colour blue is associated with a wealth of connotations that differ by culture, carrying with it a rich history and great emotional power. In Western art history, blue has always been synonymous with royalty and divinity, evident by the sacred association of the Virgin Mary with Marian Blue. In Chinese culture, particularly areas surrounding Southern China, Cobalt Blue is considered an inauspicious colour that is reserved for funeral ceremonies. Yet for some, strategic incorporation of blue hues in one's life can improve your Feng Shui. While the cultural connotations of the colour blue can at times seem endless and contradicting, one thing remains certain about this elusive pigment—it is a brooding symbol of introversion.
Blue is often used to describe a state of melancholy; “feeling blue” is commonly used to convey an inexplicable emotional state triggered by nostalgia. As an emotion, melancholy's most distinctive aspect is that it involves contemplation, providing an opportunity for indulgent self-reflection. In art, such contemplative state is often evoked by the use of the colour blue, whose association with the human psyche goes beyond mere metaphor. Through the works of three emerging Cantonese artists, Something Blue explores the pensive power of blue and its role in our aesthetic consideration of artistic narrative.
Corn Shuk Mei Ho’s fascination with the colour blue began during her first trip to the UK, when she witnessed a stunning evening sky unlike any she’s seen in her native Hong Kong. Her most recent body of work “Night Swims series” examines the colour blue through a journey into the dark waters of the human psyche. Both York, 2019 and Tunnel, Mui Wo, 2014 are reconstructions of a vanished past through place memory; Ho captures memories of these places by focusing on her emotional interactions with the place. Inspired by her own experience of relocation, Ho’s artistic interest lies in the exploration of place attachment and the inextricable link between memory and place. As a result, her works often toy with the ambivalent emotional effects of human memory, melancholy and nostalgia.
Artist Peter Chan has created four new pieces for this exhibition, including Turbulence, 2022 and Study for Reunion, 2022. Chan is no stranger to pensive imageries in art, having previously explored the concept in the context of traditional Chinese culture. Inspired by contemporary culture and our current state of affairs, Chan’s new works instead invite quiet contemplation of our correspondence to the present and future.
In his new works Turbulence, 2022, Chan uses symbols of the stock market to prompt examinations of our relationship to the culture of affluence, especially during times of social turbulence. In another vein, Study of Reunion, 2022 leverages the metaphor of a framed screen to draw viewers into a world of familiar romance, inviting projections of subjective nostalgia. Departing from his previous series “Ideals and Traditions”, Chan’s new works elicit an evaluation of the mutual construction of society and individual in the formation of social mentality.
As a Hong Kong native, Lewis Lau experienced significant cultural shifts during his formative years in the city. Many cultural monuments have given way to lucrative urbanisation projects, resulting in the rapid erasure of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage; such as the iconic Star Ferry and more importantly, the moment of escapism it offers its riders.
Propelled by such social climates, Lau’s practice manifests as preservation of the ephemerality of collective memory through the experience of Hong Kong culture. His series Come Again, 2014 is part of a larger body of work centred around Star Ferry which began in 2009. In this series, Lau preserves time by capturing the passing of a pontoon ferry from a rider’s point of view in a series of six paintings. His work offer a quiet moment of escapism as the ferry ride often does for its passengers, an experience that occupy many Hong Kong natives’ collective cultural nostalgia.