Phillip Hua • USA

"re:action” Series
The relationship between nature and commerce, and the aesthetic boundaries of painting, collage, and digital art are themes that I explore in this series.

In my work, I contemplate nature’s role as commodity in contemporary life. Compositions of animals, flowers, and trees, reminiscent of Chinese brush painting, are digitally painted. They are then printed and painted onto segmented sheets of financial newspapers, ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Investor's Business Daily. These pieces are then each coated in packaging tape and assembled together like a pixelated puzzle. The tape serves as a glossy symbol of manufacturing and commodification while the paper, delicate and fragile, reminds us of its former life. The process of laboriously coating the sheets with plastic creates a metaphor of mass production and fabrication. My imagery references Chinese brush painting, drawing inspiration from Chinese masters such as Shen Zhou, Qi Baishi, and Chao Shao-an. Chinese brush painting was often used as a mode to contemplate and meditate on nature. My work echoes this sentiment but contemplates the role of nature in contemporary culture. As consumption increases, what gets devoured?

Using technology and digital processes, I navigate the digital and physical worlds of painting. My colors are mixed with numbers and values rather than with the pushing and pulling of paint, far from the spontaneity and immediacy of Chinese brush painting. After printing these images directly onto the newspaper, I paint onto them with water to establish a dialog between chance and equation, mechanical and man made. The precision of the dots created by the digital processes bleeds and blooms as the water infiltrates the ink. The lines between the hand of man and machine become blurred. What does it mean to paint in a world in which we communicate more frequently with emails, texts, and tweets? Just as tube paint influenced the Impressionists, how does modern day technology affect contemporary painting? I seek to give form to the ever increasing infusion of technology into our lives through the painting process.

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