Ma Qiusha: Works on Paper

2014. 04. 03-05. 24

Beijing Commune is pleased to announce the opening of MA Qiusha’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery“ Works on Paper”on April 3rd, 2014. The show will continue through May 24th, 2014.

Ma Quisha’s diversified art practice encompasses video, photography, painting and installation. Linking interestingly and cautiously with the petty reality of daily experience, her works reveal strange imagination concealed beneath the surface of the mundane. Her works on paper has been shown in various exhibitions both at the gallery and offsite programs, yet this has been the first time for Ma Qiusha to present her works on paper as a solo project.

Ma Qiusha’s exposure to painting began from her early childhood. In her youth, architecture was a favorite subject during outdoor sketching sessions. The analysis of internal and external architectural structures required for accurate sketches gave her an excellent sense of the order in architecture, the rationality of which intertwines with the physicality of the environment it nurtures, people living within and their intricate emotions.Architecture and spatial design had since become a constant theme throughout Ma’s work, which first appeared in more concrete representations. Two of Ma’s smaller paper pieces, depicting two buildings that she saw in person and later painted from memory with additional imaginative embellishments, were shown at Beijing Commune’s 2011 group exhibition Constructing Form. Since the very beginning, Ma’s works featuring architecture had always been an expressiveness nurtured under a veil of rationality and order and a reflection on her own experiences.

Ma’s works on paper often portray images or notions of windows. In her solo exhibition Address, at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, the window, as depicted, represented a paradox of separation and connection, linking her roller blading on outdoor asphalt roads (All My Sharpness Comes From Your Hardness, video, 2011) with the privacy of her growing experience. Fog, a piece in her solo exhibit Static Electricity, was produced by rubbing the lace curtain with dark watercolor on paper, hinting abstractly at the window hidden behind. In her paintings of architecture, Ma emphasizes the windows in the buildings through repeated use of reflective paper. Ever since her early work depicting architecture, which were relatively more on the figurative side and were mostly based on real structures, Ma often carefully and methodically glued small rectangular pieces of reflective paper on top of her watercolor paintings, which while tempting the viewer to imagine what is hidden behind them, also mirrors that imagination back to the source.

The works shown in the You series were created on 2012. Ma moves away from real architecture; instead she takes architectural shapes from memory and decorates them further through imagination, and are more stylized in nature. She uses watercolor to paint the baseline structure, and then glues small pieces of silver and gold reflective paper on top to add texture. The neatly arranged paper shapes give the structures a sense of order, while at the same time adding nearly suffocating density to the temptation. The windows are no longer an aspect of the architecture; instead, the massively overlapping and shining rectangles become the very foundational construct of the piece. The viewing experience varies depending on the angle of approach, offering different colors and reflections as the viewer walks across the painting.

Ma explains: “When we examine a work of art, what do we really see? In other words,the viewer’s interpretation can never quite match the artist’s intentions in creating the piece. People always attempt to understand the world they see through their own experiences; when viewing a piece of artwork, they are peaking into a slice of someone else’s world. The viewer, with all his curiosity, attempts to infer the meaning behind the piece, but any meaning thus interpreted in fact comes from the viewer himself after all. What we are able to observe will always be the piece that we already know; we really only observe ourselves. To the artist, the viewer is by default misinterpreting. People always try to establish a connection to then world they live in, but isolate themselves further in that very process.” Thus the choice of You as the name of the series.

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