This Autumn, Artspace K presents “Realism Art • Food”, a group exhibition of 6 outstanding artists from November 3, 2022 to January 29, 2023. Delighted to have invited Liang Chin-Chia, Ouyang Guo-Jian, Huang Kuen-Po, Li Cheng-Guei, Wu Chun Yin Aries and Steven Tang, presenting 44 realistic paintings on our daily foods and utensils. Ms. K.C. Chen, Chairman of Artspace K said, “Food is our paramount necessity”. It is not only an integral part of our lives, but for centuries, food is also a popular motif in artistic creations. Tracing back to the Roman period, wheat and grapes played a role in ancient Roman art for being not merely the main source of food, but also a vital element of religion, mythology and banquets. In the renowned Renaissance painting “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, the meticulously depicted meal is a common theme in still-life paintings. For pop art which incorporates popular cultural elements, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can series once again proves that edibles have long integrated into various art forms. The curator of “Realism Art • Food” exhibition, Lee Yu-Han noted: Revolving around our daily foods and utensils, the 44 artworks presented at this exhibition reflect the warmth and nostalgia unique to food through masterful techniques and nuanced observations. We hope visitors can savour the moment of these paintings, including the beauty of realism art and the “taste” of food. The artists have applied different painting mediums, including oil paint, marker pen and coloured pencil for their creations on canvas and paper. While observing the variety in the brushstrokes and textures, visitors can taste their feelings for life as well as take a glimpse of their inner world, reflecting and exploring the beauty of everyday life.
The six artists come from different generations and backgrounds, indicating the wide variety of life experiences. Some of the food may be food that you love, or evoke your memories of a particular meal. From the arrangements of food and utensils in the paintings, the underlying ideas behind the compositions along with the artists ’personalities and lifestyles can be seen. In the eyes of the artists, any seemingly ordinary food can transform into the protagonist of artworks, with appealing images and memories preserved within.
Liang Chin-Chia uses classical painting techniques for his realism artworks on everyday food and fruits. Placing the food merely in a container or a plastic bag, Liang’s paintings present his casualness in life, yet with meticulous compositions and proper use of light and shadow. He travels through the hidden essence of normal times, observing his surroundings with mindfulness. With marvellous realistic painting skills, Liang tries to uncover the most stunning side of nature. Ouyang Guo-Jian oftentimes combines personal imaginaries with still lives. With different sceneries being the backgrounds of fruits, his paintings tend towards a touch of fantasy and poetry, leaving room for imagination beyond realism. For instance, “Feelings of a Young Girl” illustrates the turquoise-coloured dragon fruit placed in front of the Jungfrau during spring, symbolizing the vigour of youth. The rhombus painting “Safe and Sound Year Round” imitates the shape of “Fai Chun” of the Chinese New Year, emphasizing the replacement of words with illustrations to deliver blessings. Through everyday food and paper-cutting, Chinese traditional ideologies and values can be combined with oil painting, demonstrating a contemporary normal of East Meets West.
The artist Huang Kuen-Po uses Western classical oil painting techniques in his creations. Most of his works focus on painting an object, realistically showing the static state of the object, as if it is inadvertent in daily life. The bright colors and the strong contrast of light and shadow add a surreal beauty to the food, creating a unique visual magic. The texture is delicately handled by pen, capturing a tranquil atmosphere of the moment while expressing the beauty of food to the extreme. He also presents works on the Taiwanese snacks — donuts and bubble tea — loved by Hong Kong people.
Artist Li Cheng-Guei is skilled at painting with marker pen. He draws a series of authentic dishes, such as Chinese Dongpo pork, claypot rice and more, depicting the aroma and temperature of the cooked dishes. You can even feel the mouth watering seasoning of the food. Behind each food is the traditional Chinese food culture and value, often carrying the meaning of blessing. For example, eating fish during the Lunar New Year brings you “surplus” during the year, while oranges and persimmons represent good luck and safety. It is popular to eat egg yolk cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, symbolizing the reunion of people and the moon.
Artist Wu Chun Yin Aries presents his oil paintings “Living Memory Series”. Compared with food, he is inclined to paint more on the culteries and kitchen utensils used to contain food. Through the traces of marks on utensils, the audience can imagine the cooking process and living habits that tell stories and carry a sense of warmth. These tools that exist in every kitchen are seemingly easy to be ignored, but they best express the meaning of life and times. The artist conveys his feeling toward life in his works and the audience can always find a sense of tranquility and nostalgia in them. Through his observation, a trace of warmth flows from the gaps in ordinary and simple life. The audience can slow down and feel the works when they appreciate the beauty within them.
Artist Steven Tang applies coloured pencil to depict a series of familiar Hong Kong-style local foods, such as “Stir-fried Beef Noodles”, “French Toast” and so on. The brushstrokes are delicate, bringing the works to life. The composition of the paintings are influenced by the social media trend to record the common foods found in local tea restaurants. The artist hopes that his works can resonate with the audience and provide them with a chance to appreciate the delicacy and preciousness of Hong Kong-style fast food.
Bringing out the deliciousness of food with realistic painting skills is the theme of this exhibition. During the exhibition period, Artspace K will hold relevant lectures (see the attachment for details) to allow the public to learn about realism art and at the same time understand the ideas behind the artist’s creations.
Date: 3 November 2022 – 29 January 2023
Venue: Artspace K, G105 – 106, The Repulse Bay Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong
Artist: Liang Chin-Chia, Ouyang Guo-Jian, Huang Kuen- Po, Li Cheng-Guei, Wu Chun Yin Aries, Steven Tang