Strange Times is a solo exhibition of the famous artist Simon Birch, whose ever-changing oil paintings and drawings give the gallery a new look. The exhibition reviews Simon Birch’s 20-year career as one of Hong Kong’s most successful contemporary artists. With the infamous 14th Factory project (2017, Los Angeles), he ambitiously engaged in video art, inter-continental institutional collaboration and large-scale installation creation. Birch’s recent return to painting is a timely work in his studio. And the highly anticipated revival is unprecedented time of social isolation.
Birch is widely known for his amazing figurative paintings, and he has always developed a keen interest in human form through short-lived vessels. His abstract portrait depicts the body in dynamic movement intertwined with extremes. Contraction and expansion, pain and pleasure, resilience and fragility. Paintings such as Kid Gold Knot, embodies the physicality of flesh in the important and expressive brushstrokes of 2018, creating a sense of sculpture for the human body, making the physiology that people often hide in it, Psychological and emotional tension is revealed.
Also on display is a new abstract painting by Birch, which is an introspection of his previous works. Although there is no human body, paintings such as Untitled (2021) exude obvious dynamic vibrations through its dynamic composition, and its restless paint unfolds layer by layer, showing the cosmology of kaleidoscope brushstrokes. In response to people’s sense of brokenness in daily life, Burch’s paintings explore how to understand our humans in a world characterized by fragments and interconnections. Each of these super large paintings occupies a complete gallery wall. They are the culmination of a year-long introspection triggered by the pandemic. They meditate on contemporary human conditions through the microscopic details of life. Although these details were previously ignored, they are now being valued again and brought to the forefront of our new collective reality.