Title Stream under Representation
Artists Laís Amaral (Brazil)/Samuel Bassett (UK)/Tomo Campbell (UK)
Dates  June 17 – July 30, 2023
Reception 4:00 pm, June 17, 2023 (Sat.)
Venue
Asia Art Center (Taipei)

Stream under Representation

The fundamental viewpoint of modern Western philosophy holds that representation refers to the empirical world, namely the totality of objects. In other words, it pertains to the collection of all entities the human mind perceives whilst living in this world.[1] Representation can be understood as an image which gives shape to the external world by means of transformation and description, on the foundation of concepts and cognition formed in the human mind through perception. Deeply intertwined with representation, abstract concepts arising from our perceptual and cognitive abilities continuously interact with the objective and tangible world amidst the ever-changing dynamics and fluctuations. This group exhibition titled Stream under Representation seeks to delve into the artistic styles of three artists whose works seamlessly navigate between abstraction and figuration. Faced with their own life experiences and the physical existence of objective phenomena, artists translate vibrant mental activities onto the canvas. Through painterly techniques such as juxtaposition, allusion, and metaphor, they reconstruct and shape our comprehension of the external world and the concept of space-time.

British artist Samuel Bassett (b. 1982, UK) comes from a family that has resided for generations in St. Ives, Cornwall. The subjects of Bassett’s art seemingly indicate the daily activities of this seaside town. The artist’s focus, however, resides in the nuanced symbiotic connection between personal psychology and the external world, along with the interplay between each individual’s subjective perceptions of a place and their emotional bond with it. The artist’s distorted and nightmarish portraits depict the inherent sorrow of humanity, where fragmented figures are placed within dreamy, misty, smoky settings that implicate the passage of time. Heavy strokes run frantically back and forth between figurative characters and transient landscapes, resulting in a layered complexity and a rich intensity of emotions. Vast areas of vivid colors in the paintings seem to reflect the observation of the surrounding nature, while they in fact speak to visualized representations of the artist’s emotional ebb and flow. The gradient, ranging from light to dark shades, sings the melancholic fugues of blue ocean waves. The pastel iridescence delicately softens the radiant rays of a setting sun. Also described as “psychological cubism,”[2] Bassett’s artistic style features the technique of breaking down images to project mental activities and states of mind. Further, the juxtaposition of elements in the same composition helps disrupt the perception of linear time in the objective world, through which a psychological space allowing for the extension and transformation of reality is crafted.

Tomo Campbell (b. 1988, UK) illustrates the dreamscapes inhabited by the artist with poetic compositions and rhythmic brushstrokes. Drawing inspirations from classical human figures and animal images found in ancient mythology, Campbell combines figurative objects with abstracts elements to deliver a dynamically vibrant and fluid visual impact. Intertwined swirls of bright and desaturated colors yield a serene, delicate, and tranquil atmosphere, as the arrangement of complementary colors orchestrates the rhythm and vitality of the visual space. Campbell’s cyclical perspective[3] is reflected in his artistic creations. Themes represented in each artwork are interconnected. The composition of paintings presents shifting focal points which guide the viewer’s fluid visual experience. Moreover, the continuity and alteration between different scenes and images imply the artist’s cyclical perception of the external world while also expressing the subtle shifts and assemblages of one’s consciousness.

Brazilion artist Laís Amaral (b. 1993, Brazil) has long maintained a strong focus on political and economic concerns, gender power dynamics, and the environmental agenda within present-day Brazilian society. Amaral’s recent works discuss the process of contemplating and critiquing the connections between desertification in Brazil and national policies. Employing the imagery of “water,” an important factor in the phenomenon of desertification, the artist aims to metaphorically implicate and resist the relations between whitening policies (blanqueamiento) within the post-colonial context and the social structure in Brazil. The use of layering, scraping, and overlaying paint to create compositions which feature geometrical shapes, color blocks, lines, and natural landscapes addresses the developments of land and human craftsmanship. By delving beneath the representation of the empirical world, the artist intends to capture the ever-shifting nature of cognition and perception, as well as to examine the broader narratives of nationhood and society within one’s mental landscape.

 

[1] In Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) argued that representation refers to the construct created by perceptual intuition during sensory experiences. Pertaining to our perception and comprehension of external phenomena, it serves as a form that facilitates the reception of external occurrences through one’s senses. These sensory forms are shaped by various factors such as our sensory faculties, cognitive processes, and experiences. In The World as Will and Representation (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) put forward the notion that representation encompasses all phenomena that are apprehended through our senses. This includes not only external objects but also our internal activities such as sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Schopenhauer stressed that in addition to external entities, representation also involves our cognition and perception of the world.

[2] Jon Sharples, “Second Homes and Other Pathetic Fallacies.”

[3] Tomo Campbell stated, “I like to think of things in terms of cycles, one thing becoming another and back again.”

ON-SITE

ARTWORKS

Lais Amaral-Sem Título (Série Bença em cima de bença)

Lais Amaral-Sem Título (Série Bença em cima de bença)

Samuel Bassett-The Painter before Fields and Ange

Samuel Bassett-Fledgling with St Christopher

Samuel Bassett-Below the Blue Tree

Samuel Bassett-Coffin Path

Tomo Campbell-There There

Tomo Campbell-That One There

Tomo Campbell-Honestly

Tomo Campbell-As Promised


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