20 Jun - 27 Jul 2019 Jason Phu
the faces of guanxiu's sixteen friends, the luohans of his feverish dreams
|Featured artist||Jason Phu|
Guanxiu drank some bad wine one night. The wine had been left out in the sun for several days and had turned a sour brown and solidified into a thick murky vinegar. He fell into a deep feverish dream shortly after. In his dream he was sitting on a smooth flat stone in a pleasant clearing with a little pond. He was desperately thirsty. A luohan appeared with a vessel in hand, dipped it into the pond and offered it to him. He greedily drunk the cool liquid down, but it only made him more thirsty. One by one the other 16 luohans came through, each with a different vessel, each offering him a drink, each sip making him even more mad with thirst. After they had all passed through Guanxiu awoke, fumbled around, found the wine bottle, had another drink and fell back asleep.
“All you need is a little imagination, an open mind and as Jason once told me, ‘the rest is history’. ”
the faces of guanxiu’s sixteen friends, the luohans of his feverish dreams
I’m a great believer that art — and in many ways — life should never come with a handle with care sticker. And if I were to think of any artist who embodies this mantra, through their irreverence and passion to disrupt traditional thinking and convention, it would be Jason Phu.
In private circles, I’ve described Jason’s paintings as from the school of drunken Chinese calligraphy. Although in a more formal setting (perhaps one like this opening tonight), I would describe his work as from the “new ink” genre –– a contemporary reimagining of classical Chinese Shui-mo (ink and brush) painting.
For those who don’t know Jason’s work well, his paintings invite you to experience a realm shrink-wrapped with the smell of nostalgia –– a place that distils histories and subjects drawn from classical Chinese art forms, intermingled with his own personal Chinese-Vietnamese-Australian upbringing.