|Curated by Christina Zhang Realm of Invention, a traveling group exhibition featuring Franco Meloni, Beatrice Burel, Francois Geffray, Petra Nimtz, Carmen Einfinger, Peter Wayne Lewis, Clifford Faust, and Lawrence Weiner was recently on display at Arts Space Beijing. Previously on exhibit at the Broadway Gallery in New York, Realm of Invention features a varied group of artists whose works are ingenious and enjoyable. The group exhibition captures the very moment where conceptual artistic vision intersects with creative revelations.|
Curated by Christina Zhang Realm of Invention, a traveling group exhibition featuring Franco Meloni, Beatrice Burel, Francois Geffray, Petra Nimtz, Carmen Einfinger, Peter Wayne Lewis, Clifford Faust, and Lawrence Weiner was recently on display at Arts Space Beijing. Previously on exhibit at the Broadway Gallery in New York, Realm of Invention features a varied group of artists whose works are ingenious and enjoyable. The group exhibition captures the very moment where conceptual artistic vision intersects with creative revelations. The diverse aesthetic on display in the stunning open-plan gallery serves as a witness to the artistic development of these artists whose exploration of material from painting and collage to photography and sculpture resulted in a cohesive commentary on the infinite possibilities of each artist’s imagination.
In his colorful Abstract Expressionist canvases, Peter Wayne Lewis aims to capture the mood, nature, and ephemerality of place, while simultaneously transcending these very qualities, capturing something even more ineffable. Petra Nimtz’s approach is through her own unique poetic contemplation of beauty—in her case, using the elegance of color and movement across the canvas surface. Her subtly-layered abstractions done in opaque pigments, colored gessoes, and oils are transient and light, capturing a sense of eternal grace, elegance, and purity. The same kind of delicate layering is also evident in the work of both Beatrice Burel and Franco Meloni, each to a different effect. Burel’s diaphanous abstractions evoke the immateriality of poetic space through their finely textured and hazy surfaces, achieving a sense of peace and positivity. Executed in paint on canvas, Burel’s compositions connect us to our primitive past through their primal, earthy, unpretentious, and even spiritual qualities.
Burel and Meloni both work within the idiom of Impressionism. Yet Meloni’s forms and compositions aim to create a dynamic tension between the conscious and unconscious elements of their work. Meloni’s works employ sensual color and Surrealist imagery, amplifying the notion of dreamlike states. The infamous work of Lawrence Weiner employs a cinematic aesthetic, which added a necessary analytical tone to the exhibition. The Realm of Invention transports us from the conscious to the unconscious, inviting us to transcend our daily experiences. Drawing on theoretical discourse, curator Zhang constructs a platform for multiple investigations of liminal space. Each artist evinces a unique reading of the central themes of the exhibition, a fact that results in a welcomed diversity in terms of the modes of conceptualization and practice on view in the show.
Utilizing the painting as a point of departure, Carmen Einfinger presents her work with a physicality and vibrancy of technique that seeks to enhance the gestural quality of emotion. Similarly transgressing thresholds between two differential existential planes are the works of Francois Geffray and Clifford Faust, which form a psychological evaluation of “the other” through a representation of the self, the human condition and the “norm.” Clifford Faust leaves behind a physical testimony of human authenticity in his works. Traces of the physical world are transformed into portraits and idiosyncratic narratives. For the majority of his career Faust has blended the concerns and methods of Impressionist, Conceptual, and appropriative art with popular culture in order to create his own unique iconography, sometimes controversial and always engaging. His work explores contemporary obsessions with everything from sex and desire, to race and gender, to media and commerce.
Francois Geffray investigates figuration and the body, but as a mode of questioning physical alienation. In his most compelling work, he transcends the postmodern perspective. Here he self-consciously emphasizes the subject-object looking relationship, making the subject (or viewer) painfully self-aware of his objectifying gaze of “the other,” resulting in a reevaluation of the hegemonic structures informing the looking relationship they participate in. Pushing the envelope of painterly practices, are several distinct abstract artists exploring the boundaries between the real and “the other” as a space. Figuration meets Abstraction in the exhibition with the work of Peter Wayne Lewis, who submerges himself into a series of subconscious spaces, depicting the duality of agency inherent to the creative process itself. Depicting primary-colored abstract shapes that hover playfully on a field of white, Lewis seems to emphasize the artist’s creative agency, as well as the subject-object dilemma. By creating engaging forms from the negative space, he challenges the viewer to reevaluate the real subject of the works—is it the colored shapes, the spaces between them, or the interplay between the two? It is this broad range of styles and media in The Realm of Invention that stimulates both an awareness and understanding of creativity and imagination, time and again.