Landscape + the Urban Environment

Landscape + the Urban Environment

bird with truck and pawpaw by marian drew

Marian Drew

Bird with Truck and Pawpaw, 2009

dusky moorhen with chinese teapot by marian drew

Marian Drew

Dusky Moorhen with Chinese Teapot, 2008

reworking the classics by koon wai bong

Koon Wai Bong

Reworking the Classics, 2009

stadt by ryu hoyeol

Ryu HoYeol

Stadt, 2006

baum by ryu hoyeol

Ryu HoYeol

Baum, 2011

Thursday, March 15, 2012Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hong Kong, China

Marian DREW /KOON Wai Bong/ Chris LANGLOIS/Ho-Yeol RYU/David SMITH

exhibition location:
Amelia Johnson Contemporary
LG/F 91 – 95 Hollywood Road, (off Shin Hing Street)
NoHo, Central, Hong Kong

Gallery Hours:
Tues – Sat: 10.30 – 6.30 pm
Other times by appointment

Amelia Johnson Contemporary is delighted to present an exhibition on the theme of Landscape and the Urban Environment. Featuring five international artists, the works have been carefully selected by independent curator and art consultant Georgia Manifold to examine the revived interest in landscape by contemporary artists. Today artists continue to explore landscape as subject matter, but for different purposes. The landscapes are now manipulated, re-appropriated and re-imagined by contemporary artists to not only challenge the traditional trajectory of art history, but also to comment on the social and political forces that shape our surroundings. The exhibition traces the evolving image of the landscape in art globally moving from the literal interactions to the conceptual manipulations of the present day. Encompassing painting, photography, sculpture and video, this exhibition illustrates landscape imagery mediated through natural selection, imagination, and technology, affording a second look at both the natural and the manmade.

Marian Drew is one of Australia's most significant contemporary photographic artists. Her practice, spanning more than twenty years, is characterised by innovation and exploration of photo-media. Taken from the Australiana series, this highly regarded artist presents unsettling and beautiful photographs that serve as a reminder of the fragility of life and the impact that man has on our natural environment. The fallen bodies of indigenous Australian fauna are contrasted by the sensuous draped cloths, seductive colours and dramatic lighting. Her photographs have many layers of meanings and references, most obviously 18th Century still life paintings and the Vanitas of the 16th Century. Her work raises uncomfortable questions about contemporary relationships to animals and how we inherit and adapt cultural ideas. Other dualities are referred to: natural and artificial, contemporary and historic, life and death, and light and dark. Drew has held over 20 solo shows across Australia, United States, France and Germany and is currently represented by galleries in the United States and Australia. Her work is held is many major public and private collections across Australia including Australian National Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, South Australian Art Gallery and in the J. Paul Getty Museum in the USA. Currently, Drew is an Associate Professor at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

Unpolluted nature as depicted by the classical artists of China in their ink paintings represents for Koon Wai Bong the pure origin of the art of landscape painting. Using the traditional medium of ink on paper, he reinterprets these ancient landscapes through his re-examining of the contemporary world. The hybridity of his work effectively reconciles Chinese tradition with Western modernism, involving a wide spectrum of processes: from acceptance, adaption, appropriation and application, to revision, resistance and rejection of the Western model. Koon Wai Bong was born in Hong Kong and trained at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. Currently teaching at the Academy of Visual Arts at the HK Baptist University, Koon is shortly to be awarded his fine arts doctorate degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Exhibited extensively in Hong Kong, the work of Koon Wai Bong can be found in several collections including the permanent collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Chris Langlois’ paintings concentrate on landscapes that are filled with vast distances and large panoramas that undoubtedly point to a sense of longing. Atmosphere and weather are the two main focal points for Langlois which he evokes through a powerful absence of colour. The aesthetic beauty of the artist’s work is manifested through the blurring technique, which denotes the collective memory and the unconscious. The artist sees the paintings as an auditory, musical response to the landscape where the narrative is the experience of being in the landscape. He juxtaposes and blends things together, abstraction and non-abstraction, real and unreal, the aesthetics of media, eg painting and photography. The Darkwood series is a continuation of that theme, of painting landscape and depicting the space and the effect it has on us, specifically exploring landscape through distortion, through photography and its limitations, and how obstructions in the field of view can twist and obscure vision.

The fundamental theme behind Ho-Yeol Ryu's animations and photographs is to question simple perceptions of reality. He aims to present seemingly impossible situations or phenomena and, through the use of digital manipulation, to alter them to a parallel unreality. Life is thereby recreated but from another, unreal perspective. Ryu's animation does not attempt to emulate the look and feel of film but instead represents the movement of the leaves on the tree and their behaviour when influenced by wind, sky and the time of day. Using rectangular blocks to create the leaves and a limited palette of blue and white the sound of the wind in the leaves and the rise and fall of the leaves evoke both the mood of the scene and the feel of the weather. Born in Seoul in 1971, Ryu completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture at Chung-Ang University in Seoul before obtaining his Masters Degree from the Braunschweig School of Art in Germany. Ryu has exhibited extensively and internationally and has work in several prominent collections.

An Irish artist based in Hong Kong, David Smith’s work suggests a sense of transience, a feeling of being in a place, yet not in it fully. The subjects are often isolated, cropped or momentary, showing interplay between architectural/man made elements like buildings, tankers, jets and changeable environmental conditions like light, weather and pollution. The processes involved are central to the work, employing washes and the chemical qualities of oil to disrupt, dissolve, shroud or alter a piece. The small scale of the paintings is a deliberate attempt to engage with the polarity of depicting vast, elusive spaces on an intimate scale. The overall intent is to present works that are open ended and spare, in scale, content and treatment. The idea of something or somewhere being empty, shrouded, isolated or suggested is intriguing and works as potential for the audience to fill.

For further details on the exhibition, detailed artist biographies & images please contact the gallery on (852) 2548 2286 or