Title On the Voyage
Artists Alejandro Acosta, Deborah Brown, Howard Fonda, Florence Hutchings, Liz Markus, Kayla Mattes, Ben Sanders, David Brian Smith, Emma Stone-Johnson, Margaux Valengin, Guy Yanai
Dates 2023.09.09 – 10.15
Reception 2023.09.16 (Sat) 4:00 p.m
Asia Art Center (Beijing)

On the Voyage

Asia Art Center is delighted to announce the exhibition “On the Voyage” that will be held at our Beijing space from September 9th to October 15th, 2023. This exhibition brings together the latest works of eleven artists from five countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Israel. The exhibition presents new forms of human social development from four dimensions: “Technological Critique,” “Sensory Life,” “Memory Reverie,” and “Blurred Dreams.” With the theme “On the Voyage,” this exhibition explores the dazzling diversity of civilizations in the age of globalization and uncertainty. The artists’ diverse national backgrounds are juxtaposed within a socially significant context, as they delve deeply into contemporary issues, setting sail into the torrent of human thought.


Technological Critique

Alejandro Acosta (b. 1991, Spain) reflects on the era where technology shapes human behavior and thought. “Digitization” has become the filter through which we perceive the world. He questions how the world transforms (distorts) into images under this digital lens, whether human life is becoming uniform, consumed by the images, representations, and spiritual aspects brought forth by screens, and whether anyone still has the desire to explore this world of questions. Howard Fonda (b. 1974, USA) presents vivid and whimsical imagery, a distinctive expression of his personality. Fonda’s cultivation in history, philosophy, and other aspects guide his works to go beyond the innocence of fairy tales, enriched with intellectual depth and rhythmic expressions that appear in some corner of the canvas, revealing hidden meanings within the paintings. Kayla Mattes (b. 1989, USA) is deeply influenced by the “Cute Cat Theory” of graphic design proposed by Ethan Zuckerman, a professor at the MIT Media Lab, in 2008. Mattes, who raises two cats, reflects on modern society’s obsession with screens. She uses the form of “tapestry weaving” to express this, and during the extended process of conception and weaving, the artist feels as though this high-speed society has slowed down. Mattes’ tapestry creations are filled with meme culture, internet mascots, adorable cats, and more. The lively tones of her works may allow viewers to sense more directly the chaotic state of the world today.


Sensory Life

Deborah Brown (b.1955, USA) uses clear and concise shadows as the protagonists in her works, which is her most skillful form of expression. Deborah roams the streets of Brooklyn in New York with her dog, and the low factory buildings are the most common structures in Brooklyn. She employs vibrant colors and play of light and shadow as her artistic language, and her brisk and rhythmic brushstrokes combine to create a strong visual impact. Therefore, the ordinary street scenes become refreshing to the eye. The characters in her works never turn around, filled with a sense of the unknown. Florence Hutchings (b.1996, UK) explores the poetic aspects of everyday life in her works, incorporating elements from her life, whether it’s a studio or a bedroom clothes rack. Florence portrays these objects in an almost abstract form, imbuing them with the life and vitality she perceives within them. Her works are rich in layers and texture because she continuously re-paints, layers, and collages almost all of her works. Liz Markus (b.1967, USA) delves into the enigmatic world of dinosaur paintings, drawing inspiration from ubiquitous Halloween costumes rather than illustrations or cinematic interpretations of dinosaurs. This is one of Markus’s favorite themes, and it has become more abstract in appearance and more psychedelic in aesthetics. Even the most ordinary landscapes become exceptional scenery to artists,  through Guy Yanai’s (b.1977, Israel) pure brushwork, meticulous and tightly arranged lines, and strokes that ebb and flow. Guy attempts to eliminate the three-dimensional effect of space, evoking associations with David Hockney’s cubist style and the splendid colors found in the works of the founder of the Fauvist movement, Henri Matisse.


Memory Reverie

David Brian Smith (b.1981, UK) focuses his creative efforts on landscape painting, using it as a means to reconnect with his family’s history. Smith grew up in the countryside and later moved to London, which ignited his desire to return to rural life after a period of work and city living. Smith uses his practice to reimagine his past and contemplate his future place. Margaux Valengin (b.1992, France) explores the boundaries between abstraction and concreteness in her artistic practice. She is influenced by female Surrealist painters. Valengin’s works depict organic forms such as the female body and animals within the constraints of capitalist modernity. She assembles unconscious dreams, composed of scientific illustrations, internet stock images, and allusions to European art history, to confront issues of class and gender.


Blurred Dreams

Ben Sanders (b.1989, USA) spent his childhood in his father’s Hollywood film set studio. The most striking feature of his abstract works is their saturated colors, creating a romantic and joyful atmosphere. His inspiration is drawn from elements such as food, beverages, logos, and more. However, these inspirations are abstracted to the point where they lead people into various floating scenarios, reminiscent of drifting through space or along ocean currents. His works spark endless imagination about abstraction. When observing the works of Emma Stone-Johnson (b.1982, UK), colors seep from the canvas, and brushstrokes resemble ambiguous punctuation marks, with pigments forming small channels. Emma codes colors, not only as an exploration of pigments and hues but also as a form of self-analysis.



Alejandro Acosta Stasis

Alejandro Acosta Z

Alejandro Acosta Nighthawks

Alejandro Acosta Mundo Imagen

Deborah Brown Signs of Spring

Deborah Brown Red Heart

Howard Fonda Untitled (crow, greater green snake, tiger, red billed blue magpie, silver oriole)

Howard Fonda Untitled (black-hooded oriole, crow, gibbon)

Howard Fonda Untitled (Chinese grosbeak, crow, clouded leopard, Rhesus macaque, reed bunting)

Florence Hutchings Living Room (Pink Chairs)

Florence Hutchings Family around the Table

Liz Markus TRex 15

Liz Markus TRex 14

Kayla Mattes Brioche

Kayla Mattes Copycat

Kayla Mattes Pumpernickeled


Kayla Mattes Situation Normal, All f* ked up

Margaux Valengin Flowback

Margaux Valengin Round Through

Ben Sanders Siren XVIII (Birth)

Ben Sanders Siren (Day & Night)

Ben Sanders Siren XVII

Ben Sanders Siren XV

Ben Sanders Red Sentinel

Ben Sanders Visitor II

Ben Sanders Magnet III

Ben Sanders First Atom

Emma Stone-Johnson Smooth Medallion

Emma Stone-Johnson Letter to Sepia

Emma Stone-Johnson Plunge

Emma Stone-Johnson Sun Seeds

David Brian Smith Great Expectations-Five Trees

Guy Yanai On the Way to Rennes

Guy Yanai Salina Door

Guy Yanai Ariel’s Flowers

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