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The Natural Way: Sculpture and Sketch Works of Guo Xiao-Rong

· Exhibition


The Natural Way: Sculpture and Sketch Works of Guo Xiao-Rong

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When it comes to sculpture, all that remains in my memory are the clay and wooden frames in sculpture class, which never seem to be clean. When I saw Guo Xiao-Rong's sculptures in the gallery, after nearly a decade from my college days, one word came to my mind - pure. Just like Ms. Guo herself, the temperament of natural, calm and refreshing is also perfectly integrated into her works. 

Guo's works are pure white. White has a natural aesthetic meaning of softness, elegance, purity and serenity, which is an aesthetic orientation long sought after by the Orient. This can be seen in the poem collection "The Book of Songs", which praises the beauty of Zhuang Jiang "her fingers were like the blades of the young white-grass; her skin was like congealed ointment", and the folk saying "one white color covers a hundred faults". In terms of imagery of color, white reflects all the colors of light; in emotional cognition, white shields interferences and settles with quietness of mind. White is not pale and powerless, on the contrary, it conveys power and presence by the possibility of integrating with any kind of color – just like the powerof women, seemingly soft, but actually resilient. 

Sculpture, as an artistic expression, is generally more spatially and sensorially intuitive comparing to painting. Guo’s sculptures are rounded and free of angles; the artist uses resins to shape the partial status of the body, in a minimalist manner of Brancusi. Looking inward is the flowing characteristics of body and shapes, looking outward is the solid touch of form and material. Under the theme of "birth and inheritance of life", Guo chooses to use the most basic form to express the most genuine feeling. This is also a unique artistic perception of female artists, which unconsciously conveys the power of strength in grace.

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If Guo's sculptures are sensual artistic expressions born from form and abstration, then her sketches, on the contrary, are figurative and detail-oriented. Guo likes to "seek natural beauty in the laws of nature"; she uses her unique perspective and extremely delicate lines to portray the partial forms of animals, and through the visual sense of seeing the big with the small. Her work triggers infinite imagination and curiosity: what kind of animal is this? What would be the effect if it was complete? Unlike the “blank-leaving” apporach seen in estern paintings, here the artist uses partial expressions of life to illustrate diversity and divergence, similarity and difference. 

In the "Armour" series, Guo chooses the "alligator" (also known as the Yangzi crocodile) as the subject and enlarged the local physical features - teeth and eyes - infinitely. “The morning fungus doesn't know the night, and the short-lived cicada doesn't know the seasons”, in the drawing the animial’s eyes seem to have traveled through thousands of years, coming from the ancient days "asking the way to heaven". Its teeth are full of the mark of the survivor, since the beginning of its birth; it is the "Way of Life" that rides on the righteousness of heaven and earth. All tangible things in nature are bound in the shell and held in time. Life is born and fades away, fades away and is born again, persistently. 

Among the sketches, the black color absorbs all the colors of light, just like the vastness and expanse of the natural universe. The ancient Chinese constructed the concept of "the four directions up and down is called the universe, the past and the present is called the zeitgeist", and in nature, they are alone with the spirit of heaven and earth without transcending other creatures. "Great is said to fade, fade is said to be far, far is said to be the opposite", man and all creatures live together in the natural universe, life is with the same origin. "Nature and life" is also a profound reflection brought to us by Guo's artworks, respecting and caring, harmonizing and unifying.

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说到雕塑,我记忆中存留的皆是雕塑课上揉不完的陶泥和钉不完的木架,好像就没有干净过。阔别大学近十年,再在椿山艺术空间看到郭晓榕老师的雕塑作品时,一个词撞入了我的脑海- 纯净。正如老师本人,“清水出芙蓉,天然去雕饰”的气质也被完美地融入了作品当中。 

郭老师的作品是纯白色的。白色天然具有柔和、优雅、高洁、静谧的审美意味,这也是东方人长久追求的审美取向。《诗经》中对美人庄姜“手如柔荑, 肤如凝脂”的赞美可见一二,民间还有“一白遮百丑”的说法。从色彩意象的角度,白色可以反射所有的光;在人的情感认知系统里,白色可以屏蔽干扰,沉静心神。白色并非苍白无力,正相反,它富有力量、富有存在感,它使任何一种颜色均可融入其中,就好像女性的力量,看似柔弱,实则坚韧,是社会发展不可或缺的力量。 



在“鼍”系列中,作者选取“鼍”(传说中的猪婆龙,也就是现在的扬子鳄)作为对象,将局部身体特征- 牙齿和眼睛无限放大。朝菌不知晦朔,蟪蛄不知春秋。它的眼眸仿佛穿越了万千岁月,自远古刑天“问天之道”而来。它的牙端满是生存者的印记,自诞生之初而始。吹动须毛的是那乘天地之正,而御六气之辩的“生命之道”。天地万物被缚之于躯壳,又挟之于时间。生命诞生又消逝,消逝却又诞生,执着地生生不息。

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