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To Artists, painting is a verb and a noun

WANG SHUN solo exhibition
09 October - 19 November 2021

To Artist, painting is a verb and a noun.

"Paint" is a verb, an act of reading an even, while "painting" is also a noun, and the painting itself becomes a product that mirrors artists themselves. The artists attempt to be emotionally detached but habitually place their thoughts and senses on the canvas through the paint. They use their feelings and muscle memory to fill the emptiness that bare eyes fail to perceive. With certain thoughts, the image will never be sheerly absolute but reflect artists' emotions. The artists portray the emotionless yet ever-connecting landscape with mumble-like brushstrokes, making the works the most intimate yet defenseless zone.

"Painting is both a verb and a noun."

One day, I received a scam call. The scammer said he was there to help me with my car loan or mortgage (I don't remember). I replied very prejudicially that I didn't need it. He skipped my answer and continued to ask me if I had a steady job. I said no. The scammer then asked me what my job was. An artist, I replied. He didn't seem to understand me and then asked me again what my job was. I said I paint. Suddenly, the conversation abruptly stopped when we were not even acquainted. Well, I did it on purpose. Art may offer a scary aspect to most people in Taiwan, but not the same way as the iPhone. I don't understand what is happening between the iPhone screen and my palm, but I am happy to use it. And I am happy to learn how to get even happier with it. Although the curiosity never gets through the screen, it looks friendly in its appearance anyway. Apple is generous and boldly to show its logo when marketing iPhones' features. However, an art-related meme would make people stressed, as if a person or group would presume that your superficial laughter will crack another group of people in the industry up; even though the group has not confirmed with you whether you got the point as they did. Then, the whole thing will make us laugh bitterly, which easily goes beyond our intelligent boundaries. I do not intend to deal with the situation from a historical and political perspective, as I assume we all have a lot to say about it. However, some people can express more extensively and comprehensively than me from such perspectives. I am skillful at painting, and I deal with part of the issue with my painting.

Consciously, I try to place myself among people who are unfamiliar with the art. I don't mean to play dumb; however, when facing works of art, I feel alienated, too. I can easily explain the context within the paintings, but the paintings are always more than what I can interpret. There is a huge qualitative gap between my interpretation and the works per se. Sometimes, I think I can be more systematic to talk about the paintings than my mother (referring to someone who doesn't come from the art). My mother would feel scared when seeing images with obscure colors. Then I realize what she says is partly true. I spend a lifetime learning the art, and my mother beat me easily unexpectedly. Art is profound. Perhaps the interpretation of art is limited to our capacity to feel, and to feel itself is more than mental perceptions but a survival instinct. If I hadn't been alert to a lower visual perception of the luminance of an object, I would have been killed in the hunting times. My mother almost ceases both my life and my dignity with her smile.

Everything can be taken easily. Apart from the fact that I am in a rather secure environment, the painting itself is fictional. It is both a bush and a pile of paint. I remember I did not draw a saber tooth tiger in the bush, so I am not afraid. Did humans live with saber tooth tigers? I don't know, I made it up…… Let's get down to business; why is the painting scary? I then realize that such a feeling indicates that I completely evaded my consciousness when producing it. I depicted a mammoth in a room to make the whole painting gruesome. I dedicatedly dealt with every element in the painting, and they were easily connected after being filtered. I came to understand my works more sharply and explicitly. Yet, I won't share my finding with my mother. After all, I was just beaten by her twofold.

I drew another painting of a dog skull. I found the skull at the seashore, and it has been sitting at my home for years. I have practiced depicting it several times, and it's simple in color yet rich in structural formation. It is suitable for practicing expressing the contrast between light and shadow, and the final product connects to a vanitas. I would categorize it as some light-weighted approach. After all, there is a proliferation of things alike, and I did not obtain the ability to offer a further interpretation of death to the viewer. The result is that I will only consume it in a cheap and lowbrow way. Therefore, I have only shown it once as an exhibit, and the rest remains in my drawer or is decomposed by the soil.

This time, I do not depict it from the aspect of expressing the mentality of the subject matter but from the perspective of a still-life painting. I imagine myself as a painter to depict its physical appearance faithfully. In the process, I still thought of those similar concepts such as death, time, grotesqueness, loneliness, the seashore, violence…. However, I am aware of not relating them to my painting. In a strict sense, I will not say these concepts play no role in my art-making. After all, I had all these ideas and they occupy my brain, which manipulates the muscle of my hands that paint. When it comes to the painting approach, I transfer the features I see to the canvas with corresponding shapes and colors. However, I encounter two major issues on this level: first, I keep switching my vision between the actual thing and my canvas, updating the two spatial senses. What I see is the constant exchanging of virtuality and reality. Secondly, my painting skill is limited. In the painting, where the dog dull is absent is the part I fail to make it accomplished. The truth is that I employ all my adopted painting skills and knowledge to cover all these vague and puzzle dilemmas. Like I can only deploy a seemingly legit composition, all the details are invisible in every corner as crimes within society. This is a paradoxical ending. On the one hand, I fail to complete the mission even if I have used a bunch of additional aids—it is obvious that the painting is somewhat different from the dog skull. On the other hand, what is being concealed and what is being revealed? This is like an Aristotelian interrogation, predicting that it will be an expecting problem but won't be solved accurately. I perceive all my perspectives, traces, or identity through my art-making process. My mother will likely beat me again.

--Wang Shun




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