The CourtYard is extremely pleased to offer this second solo exhibition of the Sichuan-based brothers Guo Wei and Guo Jin. What is especially exciting for an exhibition curator is the knowledge that this, the Guos' second Courtyard exhibit, held some two years after the first, marks a radical departure from the earlier show. Contrary perhaps to current art market trends, these latest paintings of Guo Wei and Guo Jin herald a significant and deliberate rupture from what audiences have come to expect from the brothers.
Without change - significant change via experimentation - contemporary art risks fading into stale predictability. Clearly, no artist consciously wants this to happen. Although it must be tempting at times; staying with what works and what sells and what one's admirers have grown to expect. The latest works of Guo Wei and Guo Jin forego such temptation, and confirm their refreshing willingness to embrace change.
The evolution in the Guos' painting is especially intriguing in the questions this inevitably raises: How can two brothers, leading independent and separate lives, (one a teacher at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in Chongqing and the other a full-time artist in Chengdu), manage year after year to tackle the same painterly challenges - children and typically their own as subject material - albeit from such consistently different perspectives?
One might expect their paintings eventually to merge and melt into one big familial "children of the brothers Guo". Instead, the brothers' paint in remarkably consistent parallel universes, where styles never intersect, despite a steadfast exploration of the same psychological terrain: the intensely intimate relationship between artist and offspring as subject.
Guo Wei, in his latest series, abandons his signature black and white acrylic on canvas, and tries his hand at oil paint on a thick cardboard surface. Opting for minimalist techniques, Guo Wei softly traces bodies in motion, capturing the intimacy of naked poses with remarkably few brush strokes.
Guo Jin's new works are more eerie and grim than those he has previously produced. His latest child-like nudes sport oddly unattractive hats and the excessively rouged cheeks of China's young stage performers. Their nude skin is scraped on to the canvas using layers of fleshy oil paint with an uncharacteristically somber and monochrome palette.
This time around, Guo Wei and Guo Jin assure us that revelations are still to be found in the familiar; and painterly tenderness is vital in the oft-repeated nude. Join in celebrating their latest achievements.