New beginnings is a group exhibition of four artists based in different cities working in the wider field of painting and abstraction, including works by Paul Barlow, Harminder Judge, Osamu Kobayashi and Andrew Luk. Painting in the manner of the sculptor, the builder, the gardener and the designer, these artists inhabit the precarious balance between stability and entropy, ideation and abstraction, optimism and nihilism. In their works, two key themes emerge: the uncertainty of being and the primacy of action despite.
The works exhibit subtle and intentional marks left by the artist’s hands and body, manifested in dynamic gestures of control and liberation. The material ground (canvas, plaster, metal) becomes personal places of action – the act of manufacturing becomes a metaphor for the demand for genesis, the power of change, the possibility of being touched and transformed, and of promises of new beginnings.
Nuisance judge creates colorful plaster paintings that are portals to an ineffable world. Judge is inspired by abstract paintings from the esoteric Tantric tradition of the 17th century in Rajasthan, India. Intended to be used as a visual aid for meditation, these images are more diagrams than painting, like material portals to an immaterial realm. They ask viewers not to watch them, but to look through them.
Judge describes himself as an artist-maker “who paints like a sculptor, who sculpts like a builder”. His background as a home builder gives him a deep intimate knowledge and connection to the material of plaster, which involves a laborious process that creates meaning in repetitive rituals. Judge merges pools of pigment with wet plaster, stirring the mixture to create a gradient of merging colors and moving textures. As the image is hardened and the front of the painting is revealed and polished, with incredible depth, we seem to be watching in a soothing harmony of thick fog and reflective liquid. A sinuous field of colors of graceful order is born from the superposition of watery chance and choreographed uncertainty.
Paul barlow is an artist who creates psychological geometric paintings, materializing images that hold the intermediate spaces of recognition and unconsciousness, awareness and vagueness, clarity and mystery. Barlow often summarizes these states into universal patterns expressed in the physical world, resembling interferences of light waves, fractals, and halos.
Unlike traditional oil painters who work with the logic of addition by applying viscous pigments on top of each other, Barlow subtracts and removes. Using water as a solvent, it removes color residue using a sequence of repetitive movements. Like the currents forming ripples of sand, sea water eroding the coasts and the current of a river forming a meander; infiltrating and spreading, water configures the patterns and silhouettes on Barlow’s canvas. The pigments react, sediment and freeze in color gradations, forming microgeological strata of vegetative tendrils, oceanic trances and psychedelic hallucinations. Like the application by the ceramist of enamels and oxides, the result of which is unknown until leaving the oven, or the photographer who develops the image in the darkroom, Barlow’s images are based on the intelligence of liquids, the beauty of contingency and the discipline of trial and error.
Rejecting the traditional modalities of painting, Andrew Luk turns to an exploration of materials and surfaces that see both the establishment and destruction of civilization. By creating kinds of imitating paintings, the artist acts on the surface of the “canvas”, treating it as a base plan for construction and intervention. Working with volatile processes and metamorphosing materials, Luk compares transformation to the historical abstraction of time and space.
Risk and chance occupy a central place in Luk’s practice, in which unstable abstraction takes the action of a scorching combustion of napalm on brass, an uncontrollable expansion of expanding foam protruding into hardened cement. and an archaeological sedimentation of prehistoric beings in resin. In the three series of Oxidation / Immolation, The fragility of things built from rocks, and Deep Earth Event Horizon, Luk studies the law of entropy, creative agency and the imaginative expanse of worlds beyond humans.
Osamu KobayashiThe process of composing is a mechanical and conceptual puzzle. Kobayashi’s practice makes connections with modernist design movements, geometric abstraction, as well as the visual culture of manga and anime. Like a mathematician balancing an algebraic equation, the painter solves a visual solution with line, color, shape, and size. The pictorial plane is a field of action and counter-action, a dualistic plane between flatness and illusion of space, softness and hard edge, tension and relaxation, stillness and dynamism, seriousness and lightness.
With a handcrafted device that connects a multitude of brushes, the artist applies paint to the canvas in a sweeping sweep. The artist twists and turns in awkward positions to curve the seemingly continuous line, leaving evenly spaced traces in a large field of color; the markings resemble the elegantly raked sand in the rockery of Ry? an-ji in Kyoto.
About the Blindspot gallery
Established in 2010, Blindspot Gallery is a contemporary art gallery based in Hong Kong. The gallery began with a primary focus on contemporary photography and image-based art, and has evolved to include various media in contemporary art. The gallery represents both emerging and established artists, mainly from Hong Kong and the region but also elsewhere.
About the artists
Paul barlow (born 1988, Sheffield, United Kingdom) is a painter graduated from the Royal Academy in 2021 and recently selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the South London Gallery. His abstract paintings are created using water as a solvent to remove color residue from his paintings. Barlow currently lives and works in London, UK.
Nuisance judge (born 1982 in Rotherham, UK) is an artist whose practice encompasses object making, performance and installation. His most recent work is concerned with the history of Indian abstract painting linked to Tantric ritual. Judge recently organized a solo exhibition “Mountain and Mercies” at the galeriepcp in Paris. Judge currently lives and works in London, UK.
Osamu Kobayashi (born 1984, Columbia, South Carolina, USA) creates abstract paintings in whimsical colors with rapid brushstrokes, creating scenes that range from familiar spaces to imaginary dimensions. Kobayashi recently presented a solo show “Hand in Hand” at LA Artcore in Los Angeles. Kobayashi currently lives and works in New York, USA.
Andrew Luk (born 1988, New Jersey, USA) is a Hong Kong artist who works across a range of media examining the intricacies of human experience as well as the myths and stories associated with the building of civilization. Luk has participated in exhibitions at Asia Society Hong Kong (2019), Tai Kwun, Hong Kong (2019) Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2018) among others. Luk currently lives and works in Hong Kong.
Blind Spot Gallery