Seema Devitre on the Chinese Thinking in Multiple Circles series by Jingxuan Hu

“Memories of our home can be difficult to recreate. The challenge of painting comfort, sculpting reassurance or drawing sustenance are feats to be surmounted.”

Seema Devitre, FOM Docent for STPI

Capturing history and recalling memories can be deemed painful too, unearthing experiences like war, abuse, humiliation and loss. How do we confront these dichotomous sides and pen a memory into art? How do we address absence of our home while making another? These notions are what Jingxuan Hu have skillfully brought to her new works. Her muted yet rich color palette, the layers and textures and most poignantly the subtle yet striking use of symbol – namely the circle – are artfully expressed through the mediums of collagraph and relief print.

In Chinese Thinking in Multiple Circles Series, we are invited into a complex space full of dimension and perspective. The longer we gaze, the more we are drawn into each room, each corner alluding to another. And it is calming. We are home. The colors are pleasing reminders of ceramic lacquers, but are unique too, like an invented color to describe the memories of a faded past that we bring with us all while enmeshed within our current lives. The texture is deep yet soft, and in printmaking such layers are a challenge to produce. The circle is intriguing, the motif arising from notions in Chinese heritage such as prosperity and fulfillment, while the florals remind us of abundance and regrowth. How does the viewer interpret the roundedness amidst the chaos? Are we shrinking into this hole, or do the spheres give us a view of infinite possibilities?

The pandemic has altered this fleeting sense of cultural identity. Never in a 100 years have we suddenly halted, stopped, the whir of the world ceased and we find ourselves still. This has revealed the truth of our identities and the impetus to simply be.

Minimized through urban living, Hu opens the space to reveal depth, giving it an emotive aura and eluding to the history we carry within us. Engaging with multiple disciplines further expresses this depth giving us a tactile feature. The viewer can walk into the space, feel the ambiance and “touch” the surfaces all by a simple gaze. Like puzzle pieces coming together, everything is coming together. Elements of surprise like the figures that subtly appear in NO.309M_Space and NO.406M_Space, patterns, the effect of crumpling tissue paper, another picture within the picture too add multiple dimensions.

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