Contrasting Confluences: Clément Denis, Fabien Verschaere, Karen Shiozawa
HK H Queen’s 7-8/F
May 3 - June 30, 2022
Whitestone Gallery H Queen’s is thrilled to present a group exhibition “Contrasting Confluences”, featuring French artists Clément Denis and Fabien Verschaere, and Japanese artist Karen Shiozawa, as an associated project of the French May Arts Festival 2022. The exhibition showcases a selection of acrylic, oil and watercolor works, spanning a variety of approaches from abstraction to figuration, each offers nuanced ways of looking at, interpreting, and representing the world, while exploring values of symbols and identities of individuals.
Clément Denis investigates the barriers of communication, deploying plural works including mosaic and painting, bringing the art of an artistic practice at the crossroads of human condition. His anthropological investigation results in a series of portraits of individuals that he invites to feel the same state of confusion. In fact, sharing his own experience is a prerequisite to the act of painting. For the past ten years, Denis has engaged with figments of memory and explored the body as a site of consciousness in his painting practice. Over time his works have evolved from dark and rich tableaus to more expansive works with sinuous lines and a bright, acidulated palette. In 2021, the lockdown due to pandemic led him to Noirmoutier where a premonitory dream inspired him a new series – “The river song”. In it he saw the island and his family home engulfed into water with only the treetops and the roof emerged. He pondered over the relentless climatic change and its consequences on nature, as well as man’s initiatory path faced with the impending unavoidable calamity. “I often paint the flow of water, as in a certain way water can absorb us” said Clément Denis.
Ever since his childhood, Fabien Verschaere followed the maxim: Not a day without a line drawn - as Apelles, an ancient Greek artist said. Nevertheless, the reality of Verschaere’s world is hidden behind an enigmatic symbolism and references to history. Born with a mysterious disease, the artist was hospitalized for the first 15 years of his life – it is understandable why the focus of his work is tightly connected to the exploration of human condition. Verschaere’s personal mythology does not lose touch with the reality – especially in his interest in telling stories of contrasts between life and death, beauty and repulsion. Calling up the world of circus, fairy tales, comic books and his own fantasies in a vast organized chaos between fantasy and reality, the artist invites us to look into reality through the hybrid creatures, monsters and chimeras coming from his unbridled imagination. Artistic techniques he always comes back to are watercolors, drawings, paintings, installations and film, he recently experimented with painting on wood and ceramics. When looking into Verschaere’s imagery, viewers enter the world between his dreams and nightmares. While finding a source of consolation in hard times, the artist is able to create something beautiful from something that feeds on fear and abandonment.
Karen Shiozawa depicts a boundless galaxy alluding to lost memories in her paintings. The artist is consistently seeking to expand the realm of communication mediated acrylic, oil, alkyd resin on wooden boards, to build up the exceptionally appealing layers of light and shadow in the Milky Way. Growing up in The Netherlands, her compositions and lines feature European elements such as wooden wind-mill, classic-style arches and church steeples. To present the imaginary yet realistic scenes, Shiozawa scrapes the paint away with different sizes of technical pens. Crystal Church (2022), a featured artwork in the exhibition, depicts light passing through the stained glasses and overlapping each other, reflecting a veil of light surrounding the church building. As if the artist’s childhood memories arising from her glass treasure box. “Bridging people's consciousness to consciousness, recognition to recognition, I would like to create artworks which can capture people's voice of heart that people could not notice in the real world.” said Shiozawa.
About French May
It is the first time Whitestone Gallery participates in French May, featuring our exhibition as an associated project of the French May Arts Festival 2022. Established in 1993, French May is one of the largest cultural events in Asia. With more than 150 programs presented across two months, it has become an iconic part of Hong Kong’s cultural scene that reaches over 1 million visitors each year. For 29 years, French May has been both truly international and distinctly local and wishes to contribute to the unique appeal of Asia’s World City.
7-8/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
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