February 12 ˇV March 6, 2004
Double Surface - Paintings by Takayo Seto and Hong Zhu An
Plum Blossoms Gallery
555 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001 T: 212.719.7008
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:30am - 6:30pm
Sunday and Monday Closed

Plum Blossoms Gallery (New York) is pleased to introduce painter Takayo Seto in exhibition with long-standing gallery artist Hong Zhu An. On view will be recent paintings by each artist, including works from Takayo Setoˇ¦s studio spanning the years 1998ˇX2003 installed at the gallery for the first time. The show is a study in deep surface, connecting two painters of disparate background who nevertheless share a conceptual approach to canvas and paper as meditative plane, applying materiality to a mode of expression balanced between representation and abstraction.

Takayo Seto, trained mainly in the U.S. where she studied at both Alabama and Pratt, uses oil to paint minimalistic canvases contrasting monochrome fields against sudden gestures of color. Process is a critical element of her painting, and she begins each work with a chaos of form and color building towards essential, extracted beauty only through successive layers of application and adjustment. In recent works such as Unlocked (oil on canvas, 2003) and Interior (oil on canvas, 2003), these accretions of creative energy alter the seeming flatness of her canvasˇXwarped with caresses, gouges, rivulets, wrinkles, cakes of paintˇXsuch that even monochrome expanses become charged records of experience and reflection. Takayo Setoˇ¦s philosophical embrace of the accidental in painting achieves an abstraction of textural humanism and psychological depth, where surface is a complex, beautiful window upon ˇ§the drama that Nature creates.ˇ¨

Despite Hong Zhu Anˇ¦s extensive experience in the literati arts, his color field paintings, while still referencing a long lineage of genres, constitute a radical departure from tradition in their eschewal of overt brushwork. Instead, as he does with the painting Cloudless (ink and color on rice paper, 2003), Hong Zhu An uses overlays of mineral pigment on paper to create ambient, atmospheric paintings that evoke through a characteristic antique patina an awareness of history even as they assert their own contemporaneity. And in works such as Quietude (ink and color on rice paper, 2003), Hong Zhu An enforces the objecthood of the painting, creating an environment of the surface, conceived in temporal terms as the acknowledgement of multiple and ongoing realities: the coexistence of an immediate present and a series of contending pasts that always manage to re-surface and re-present themselves.

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