Construction and Contemplation
16 Feb — 31 Mar 2017 at the Art100 in New York, United States
Noa Charuvi’s work has its antecedents in landscape painting, but the paintings themselves reflect a special focus on her surroundings, and a very particular handling of color and composition. In her early work, Charuvi drew source material from images of demolished buildings in Palestine. Her goal was to deconstruct how painterly abstraction and brushstrokes could facilitate understanding of politics and history. In her newest work, Charuvi paints construction sites that she sees outside her New York studio near the World Trade Center. The small vignettes she creates with deliberate and empathetic brushstrokes reveal the process of both architectural and painterly construction.
The physical objects in her demolition works and her construction works are often the same – machinery, cement blocks, wiring, rebar - though the context is quite different. Charuvi does not aim for pathos, her attention is on process – the creation and dissolution of what man makes within the landscape - and what she sees as the “already abstract” quality of human activity on our surroundings.
Li Gang’s work is rooted in Chinese ink painting, one of the world’s oldest continuous art forms. Li’s work evidences the precise motion and change and the “spirit resonance”- the flow of energy between artist, brush and paper - that are among ink painting’s basic principles. But Li is a contemporary artist, a contemporary person, and, for him, history and discipline provide the ground and the armature for innovation and self-expression. Li builds his work in layers, first with ink and then acrylic to create a rich palimpsest of color and texture that reiterates the layering of civilization itself.
Li creates paintings that gradually unfold to the viewer, revealing history, change, and complexity. In Li’s painting, as with architecture, the structure is built from the bottom up, giving the work a sense of depth and gravity. In this series, Li’simages, rows of minimally differentiated abstract shapes, have been a recapitulation of ancient depictions of the thousand Buddhas. Li’s work can also be appreciated as the fruit of a personal meditative practice bridging ancient calligraphic writing and contemporary abstract expressionism.