Jen Gash, Justine Formentelli and KV Duong
22 October, 4 - 8pm
Jen Gash enjoys exploring all aspects of landscape, fascinated by how it can act as psychological territory and as a theatre for unusual human activity. She uses both real and imagined landscapes, creating new possibilities by stripping back and reworking surfaces and bringing to play the resultant, emergent properties. Her work often has a soft, melancholic or other-worldly feel.
Justine Formentelli is a French artist who spent most of her life abroad. Now based in London, she graduated with an MA in Fine Art from City and Guilds of London Art School in 2018.
Her works is a profound exploration of inner landscapes through linear and abstract forms.
KV Duong is a London-based artist who grew up in Canada to Chinese Vietnamese parents. In his work he explores themes of migration and cultural assimilation, through a re-examination of his parents’ and his own experiences. War trauma and integration correlate with the artist’s coming out as a gay Asian man.
This exhibition brings together three artists whose distinctive painting practices find common ground in their use of landscape as a vastly diverse territory to process and give form to their inner thoughts, past experiences, and reflections on human behaviour and psychology. In these selected pieces, the presence of fire, water and air lurks in corners, floods grounds or whistles through different compositional elements. These devices seem to allow access to other realms in time or space and even different states of consciousness.
In Jen’s works, recurrent themes including bodies of water, swimming pools and swimmers, keep resurfacing. This seems to mirror repeating dreams she has about water, the sea and her relationship to it. Water is often equated with emotions, which easily reflects Jen’s nature and her therapy work. Undergrowth, thickets of bushes and tangles of tree branches also appear in her work, often preventing a clear view beyond. Jen is also able to recognise some personal themes around this notion.
In her recent paintings, Justine explores the porous border between our interior reality and the external world. Preoccupied by the endless stream of thoughts, information and white noise which continuously traverses and shapes our minds, she has been considering the potency of white space so prevalent in traditional Chinese landscapes in order to balance out this constant thoroughfare. Compositionally, this void offers islands of respite and breathing space and has been traditionally seen like a conduit between heaven and earth. Two years in since the beginning of the pandemic, a gasp for air is inevitable but it also translates a need to access a broader consciousness, a wish to embrace more than the visible.
KV explores themes of migration and cultural assimilation. In this series ‘Unhomely', KV creates imagined landscapes using Vietnam War images juxtaposed with uncanny scenes of contemporary everyday life. Fire and water are directly linked to the historical past experienced by family members such as bomb explosions, roaring war planes and flight by boat as refugees. The elements’ enveloping and pervasive qualities create a distortion that opens up another plane beyond the well delineated rooms representing time and space. These rooms are sanctuaries to work-through and work-over the past; yet these moving elements or repositories of past trauma permeate the floors or ceilings and still project a strong glow on the present-day haven.