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Indepth Arts News:

"Peter Lew: O Positive - The Blood Drawings"
2003-11-14 until 2004-01-11
Cristine Wang Gallery
Williamsburg, NY, USA United States of America

Cristine Wang Gallery is pleased to invite you to the opening reception of PETER LEW: O+ The Blood Drawings. The first solo exhibition of New York based artist Peter Lew is comprised of approximately 10 drawings which simultaneously reference Chinese calligraphy, the abstractions of Jackson Pollacks action paintings, and the performance drawings of Hermann Nitsch and Yves Klein. As an artist whose ancestral roots hail from the Canton region in China, and who was educated and raised in the United States, his work encompasses a trajectory of pictorial modes of artistic representation from western canons of artistic production to traditional chinese mediums of calligraphy and ink painting while weaving in his innate sense of form and line.

Using pigs blood as the medium of an actual rupture, these drawings depict the interior volumes and depths of abstracted anatomical forms that reference calligraphy and graffiti. From the carnal density of vision to the materiality of the imagery, this work envisions the relationship between corporeal form and its dissolution as alternately seductive, horrific, transfixing and lyrical. The drawings employ and represent the formlessness of bleeding, and suggests that we reflect upon the impulses of artistic production, spectatorship and paranoia. This work explores the ambivalence of visual pleasure when confronted by the seductive or the horrific -- its slippage into the morbid urge to gaze. The titles of the drawings (Clarissa, Karen Cooper, O-Ren Ishii) are appropriated from popular film culture, in particular the horror film genre, and hint at a feminist reading of the sinister underpinnings of a society transfixed by images of disaster, carnage and other ailments of Modernity.

Peter Lew is a New York based artist who has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as in Switzerland and Austria. His works have been reviewed in such publications as Cabinet Magazine and Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung (Austria Daily Newspaper).

Concurrently on view, Wenda Gu: Forest of Stone Steles: Retranslation and Rewriting of Tang Poetry, 2003 and Ink Alchemy, 2001. In Forest of Stone Steles, the artist has taken as his starting point well-known poems by Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) scholars of classical Chinese literature such as Li Bai and Du Fu. The poems are realised as ink rubbings on chinese rice paper, in which the poems have been inscribed by hand on huge stone tablets using ancient Chinese calligraphy. Challenging the accepted notions of translation and meaning, Wenda Gu has then transformed the phonetic sounds of the English translation into modern Chinese characters which dominate the central panel. The artist has created new and somewhat surreal poems in English from these carefully selected sound-words and characters. The bold calligraphic rubbing on soft handmade paper creates a contemplative mood; the installation suggests solutions to the seeming lack of communication between different peoples and nations, while demonstrating how easy it is for misinterpretations to occur since it is not really possible for an outside observer to fully understand the depth of another cultural entity. Wenda Gu has manipulated Chinese characters and meanings (or non-meanings) in various art media including huge ink scrolls and installations of human hair.

Wenda Gu is one of Chinas most significant contemporary artists, based in both Shanghai and New York. His work has been exhibited and is in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, SFMoMA, San Francisco, P.S. 1, and The Asia Society Museum. He has exhibited extensively at major biennials such as The Johannesburg Biennale, The Kwangju Biennale, among others.

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