• Art of the Game

    Date posted: December 26, 2008 Author: jolanta
    Last summer was huge for Beijing because of the Olympics. Coinciding with the world-famous athletic competitions was Ludus, a group exhibition of several international artists, at NY Arts Beijing Space. The group exhibition showcased works by Renée Breig, Angela Earley, Robert Freimark, Stephen Gostt, Tove Hellerud, Malgorzata Paryzinska, Margareta Petré, Julien Vonier, and Katherine Wood. These Western artists came together and presented their diverse body of work in an Eastern setting. The juxtaposition brought out a visual contrast that was unexpected and refreshing. “Ludus” is the Latin word for “game.” A game indeed was the show, and a fun one. The featured artists toyed with notions of geometric shapes, daring pigments, and texture of paint. Abstraction and Realism interplayed from canvas to canvas. Image

    Catherine Y. Hsieh 

    Image
    Malgorzata Paryzinska, Date. Courtesy of the artist.

    Last summer was huge for Beijing because of the Olympics. Coinciding with the world-famous athletic competitions was Ludus, a group exhibition of several international artists, at NY Arts Beijing Space. The group exhibition showcased works by Renée Breig, Angela Earley, Robert Freimark, Stephen Gostt, Tove Hellerud, Malgorzata Paryzinska, Margareta Petré, Julien Vonier, and Katherine Wood. These Western artists came together and presented their diverse body of work in an Eastern setting. The juxtaposition brought out a visual contrast that was unexpected and refreshing.

    “Ludus” is the Latin word for “game.” A game indeed was the show, and a fun one. The featured artists toyed with notions of geometric shapes, daring pigments, and texture of paint. Abstraction and Realism interplayed from canvas to canvas. Renée Breig’s work, for example, has a constant theme of abstraction. Using paint and other media, Breig creates a space that is enveloped in an otherworldly atmosphere.

    Contrary to Breig’s multicolor paintings, Angela Earley’s black-and-white etching series is a minimalist take, bringing pigeons to life, a subject about which the artist is passionate. Earley’s work demonstrates an elaborate mark-making process, where pigeons in groups of two, three, or more, seem to be flying off from paper.

    Robert Freimark’s acrylics and watercolors convey equal power in tempering color and form. Freimark investigates a diversity of subject matter, from irregular shapes to deformed human beings, geometric structures to ominous body bags, and Mexican landscape to Californian scenery. No matter which subject he delves into, Freimark exercises a dexterous grasp of the mediums, creating gruesomeness or serenity at will.

    Stephen Gostt segues between the dark and the light. Works such as Celebration (Memory), and Some Kind of Puncturing represent Gostt’s ability to highlight graceful touches of paint. Night Portal and Window 2, on the other hand, emphasize the line on which the murky and the bright part. The fiery orange square in the heart of Window 2, specifically, seems to usher the viewer into an unknown sphere of mystery.

    Like Alice in Wonderland, the viewer enters a bizarre realm that consists of kaleidoscopic skies in royal blue, crimson red, and olive green. The earthly tone of Tove Hellerud’s paintings shows her mastery of tints and hues. While some of her works are reminiscent of an unpopulated desert, others overwhelm the viewer with her audacious use of palette, bearing mystique and uncertainty.

    Realism is most evident in Malgorzata Paryzinska’s Date. A photographic image of a bridge over water against a backdrop of a setting sun, Date envelops viewers in a romantic atmosphere that is both melancholy and subdued. Passers-by walking on the bridge form an interesting contrast with two angle-like figures, as if human beings are unaware of the existence of heavenly creatures right next to them.

    Margareta Petré’s Color Energies echoes the universe, where a white hole seems to open up in dark depths of the galaxy. The luminous oval shape shimmers, beckoning the viewer to come closer, look deeper, in awe.

    While intangible energies are explored in Petré’s work, the strength of human body form is manifest in Julien Vonier’s Dancer. Against a light turquoise background is a naked man with arms open wide, the left arm reaching over his head, one knee raised high up to his abdomen—dancing. The focus of the painting on the subject’s upper torso makes the face almost indiscernible, which turns viewers’ gaze to the contours of the male body. The exquisite details of the manly form are proof of Vonier’s painstaking efforts that successfully render a vivid image of a masculine body in movement.

    Katherine Wood’s Reaching Heights depicts a sky seemingly before a storm hits. Swirling clouds in white and gray hover above a brownish granite ground, as if the clouds are trying to reach the skyline, for some unknown fate waiting amidst the dark blue.

    Ludus comprises a joyful array of artists coming from different cultural and artistic backgrounds to present their own definitions of “ludus”—be it a game of lines or shapes, of objects or human forms. These artists came to Beijing; not only did they witness but they also contributed to the grandeur the city had not experienced in decades.

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