“How to respond to present reality through an abstract vocabulary has always been the core of my practice. As artists, we often learn from history and embrace the present in the moment, whilst looking to the future in our imagination. Accordingly, time flow is not unidirectional but by contrast, shuttles back and forth between numerous intersections. This echoes my state of mind when I make art.”
—— Artist Statement by Ava Hsueh
This mid-Autumn Tina Keng Gallery will present Ava Hsueh’s solo show Between Shuttles, showcasing the new abstract works developed over the course of the past three years. The exhibition expands upon Hsueh’s study and reconstruction of text since 2004, taking into consideration of the position and direction abstract art takes in contemporary art. Her works capture a progressive reflection of color shades that comes with a tactile element of temperature. The layers of lines, with their form from simple to complex, bolster the rhythm experienced by the cognitive perception of the “substantial space” and the “moving space.” In between color and compositions, the works connect with the viewer’s cognitive neurons to formulate impressions and to further streamline the readings of her works which transcend beyond both sense and sensibility.
The experience of reading Hsueh’s woks from a theoretical framework in turn becomes a journey initiated from the five senses – a journey anchored on the inherent thingness of painting. Aesthetic exploration often comes in the form and action of visual and philosophical deduction, for those artists that have their roots in a modernist context like Hsueh. German philosopher Martin Heidegger discusses in his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art,” while artwork cannot escape its thingly nature, its essence that define art is determined by factors beyond such thingness.
As art critics Kao Chien-Hui described, Ava Hsueh’s quest of abstract art resides not simply in the choices of form and composition. It manifests in the calligraphic ink lines that travel across the canvas and in a mixture of lines and lush colors reminiscent of Japanese ukiyo-e arts. What lies behind the dimension of imageries are the visible and invisible depth of temporal and spatial fields, achieved through her interweaving of the pigment’s luster and warmth with lines and surfaces. Layered compositions blending the charm of both the East and the West are intrinsic to her works. A gradual expansion of aesthetics and conscious space only becomes cognizant, once the abstract composition meet in the viewer’s perception, giving a sensation that resembles both the dew and a flash of lightning.
Hsueh’s works, which begins with a constant correlation of texts and an act of self-reading, enable her painting to portray the uncapturable that escapes the senses. As she aims to trigger a fundamental change in perception for the viewer, Hsueh deals with the textures of the medium, in order to deconstruct the formal narratives of the visible and thepalpable. In the two dimensional space where lines and colors meet on her canvas, there is apseudo-landscapecompositional structure, working hand in hand with the unrestrained use of cold and warm color tones to direct the viewing experience that is stemmed from a psychological and emotional sensation. While reflecting the materiality and the painterly quality instigated by the use of saturated color schemes, her works create a sense of space through the craft of composition. The works of art produced, besides being an independent work, become also referential to the artist’s physical consciousness and action.
Japanese renowned critics Shigeo Chiba commented on Hsueh’s practice: “I get the sense that her works, especially the recent ones, are spun from her very flesh, whether they are all-over paintings or ones with ruptures in the all-over. It is not so much paintedbut as a‘realizedpresence.’ Otherwise put, paintings, which are flat surfaces, generate a structure in a substantial form. If Jackson Pollock’s paintings tended rather to express an illusion of depth through physical flows in horizontal directions, Hsueh’s paintings realize space as a structure, which further becomes the content of her works through her practice – asking how one’s mind and soul confront the world? How does the world move one’s mind and soul?”
He continues, “When I stand before such a work, my vision expands in some sense. I do not mean that I become all eyes, but that my vision adjusts to the work’s structure by assimilating the senses of my whole body, and exercises an extrasensory faculty.The directionality which runs at the heart of Hsueh’s work elevates abstract painting to something higher than the mere creation of forms. Without this — with mere flat abstraction, mere perspective, mere illusionism, and nothing else — abstract painting ends up being just another ‘ism.’ It could perhaps be said that abstract painting until now was a sort of ‘prelude’ to experiments such as Hsueh’s. It could be said that real abstract painting begins here, with experiments like hers.”
Ava Hsueh persists in her exploration of abstract art, leading the viewer through the “in between” state between abstract symbols and consciousness in her abstract painting. Whether conjuring a realm beyond the five senses in Surpassing Space, or capturing the “once-was” on the canvas in lingering reverberations of Intervening Space, the artist allows the viewer to engage in a constant quest to understand art.
1956 born in Taichung, Taiwan. Prof. Ava Hsueh obtained her D.A. degree in Arts from New York University, currently serves as the Honorary Professor in Tainan National University of the Arts. She has been appointed as the Director of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Chief Executive of National Cultural and Arts Foundation, and has served as the Dean of the College of Visual Arts, the Chair of the Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory in Tainan National University of the Arts. Prof. Hsueh has long chosen abstract language as her expression of artistic creation. Her art works are mainly constituted by biomorphic abstraction and geometric abstraction to express a hybrid reality, whose mixture and adjustment correspond to epochal shifts and the characteristic of contemporary abstract art. Also her work has been exhibited in many venues around the world, including Taiwan, China, U.S.A., France, Italy, Korea, Japan, etc. Prof. Hsueh’s works have been widely collected, including National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, National Art Museum of China(Beijing), White Rabbit Museum(Australia) , private collection and etc.