Art Review【 The Pungency of Wasabi and the Dizziness of Wheatgrass Juice — Exploring the Interplay of Mingling Images and Sensory Perception in FU Ning’s Paintings 】

Art Critic Hu Jungyi 胡鐘尹
6 min readDec 5, 2023

Artist : FU Ning

Art critic : Hu Jungyi

2023/12/02

FU Ning’s paintings commence with examining the generation mechanism of contemporary image, integrating ostensibly mundane and inconsequential visual elements from daily life, creating a diary-like painting exploration. Through painting, she contemplates and reflects on the challenges faced by contemporary art: the rapid and excessive production of images. The constant updating and proliferation of images occur so hastily that they often struggle to capture focus and attention. People sometimes find the overwhelming deluge of visual stimuli suffocating and ineffective, leading creators to feel a sense of frustration and powerlessness in the visual innovation when creating.

FU Ning , Dry new life, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 145.5 X 97 cm

In FU Ning’s artistic expressions, one can see her employing vibrant hues and concise brushstrokes to depict powerful image forms, reminiscent of snapshots captured by an instant camera. This reflects the direct impressions of things, conveying a “fresh” texture in the visual representation. From another perspective, there are occasions when she exerts more effort to delve into the “raw” taste of painting, experiencing the medley of images into indistinguishable shapes that coexist.

She applies extruded pigments, directly blending colors on the canvas with an unrestrained and spontaneous expressiveness, resulting in a vigorous and pungent portrayal. Alternatively, she sometimes adopts a method where the canvas is not fully primed, exposing the raw texture of the fabric. Sections of pigment layers are selectively removed, harmonizing with earthy or organic hues. With a moist brush layering strokes of leaves, clusters of grass, exterior walls of houses, or skin, they together evoke a unique “gustatory sensation” in painting.

FU Ning , Dry coral bone, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 27 X 19 cm
FU Ning ,Divided horizons, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 100 X 72.5 cm

It must be emphasized that the “flavor” encapsulated in her paintings is not purely pleasant, satisfying, or palatable; rather, it exudes a raw and piquant essence, redolent of the untamed and sharp qualities found in the wilderness, or the sweet-savory and bitter taste of soy sauce. To further describe this sensory state, envision a white porcelain dish with fresh green wasabi soaking in soy sauce yet to be evenly stirred. The horseradish is freshly ground, mixing with the smell of soy sauce’s saltiness and a hint of bitterness lingering in the ambient space. Lower your gaze and observe the horseradish paste; its pungency travels up to your sinuses. Then, take sips of wheatgrass juice — the whole experience induces a dizzying sensation at the crown of the head.

Transitioning to another physiological realm, this gustatory association is analogous to the interplay between sensory fatigue and a sudden awakening sensation while drawing in a breath of crisp, cold air. From any perspective, FU Ning’s works embody an internal “self-repulsion,” this contradictory repulsion subsequently reaches a certain state of “integration” on the visual interface she unfolds. It is an integration that is not uniform, a blending that is not united. Images, pigments, and perceptions, with a subtle trace of lingering vitality, find a way to bridge the gaps between each other.

If we consider “mingling” as a kind of outdoor feast which triggers the taste-related associations in her painting, it represents the phenomenon of contemporary images, so rapid that swift replacement can lead to visual indigestion. Moreover, this complex yet not entirely harmonious sensory analogy implies that deciphering the content of the images is not the foremost concern when viewing Fu Ning’s paintings; instead, her creation focuses on the depiction and restoration of states generated by the act of “mingling.”

FU Ning , Far away, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 72.5 X 50 cm
FU Ning , Congratulations in withering, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 116.5 X 80 cm

The life of painting is founded on experiential understandings of the everyday. Postulating that the “isolated existence” of entities is not possible, and that “mixture” is the norm, then the layers, knots, and self-repulsion accentuated in her paintings are intended to respond to the “fractalization” of images, the disorder of information, and the self-perplexity and quandaries that painting confronts in the contemporary context, where profound meaning is challenging to derive.

In Hiro Hiro Art Space’s exhibition “Red Eyes when I miss you,” FU Ning not only continues her exploration of fragmented contemporary images but also delves into a retrospective organization drawn from her personal past experiences in a romantic relationship, showcasing an “impressionistic portrayal” rooted in imagination. Perhaps the symbolic extension of this love experience in her creations inevitably brings back certain poignant memories, persistently probing at the heart’s demons. Yet, in the next moment, as time goes by, the once-thought-departed melancholic memories unexpectedly come rushing back! Much like the mingling layers on her painting’s surface, seemly balanced but, in fact, conceal an inherent force of repulsion within. In relationships, if one’s individuality had been suppressed, it may, at some point in the future, resurge with greater tension. Paradoxically, this resurgence becomes a vibrant force in painting, infusing FU Ning’s artistic endeavors with different energy.

FU Ning’s painting techniques and experiments in this exhibition resonate with her unsuccessful romantic relationship. To portray the disintegration and subsequent reconstruction of memories, she tears layers of pigment from the canvas, obtaining fragments of either brittle or soft images. The areas stripped away reveal the bare, sepia-toned canvas underneath, with some other uneven peeling surfaces resketched using pencil and charcoal. It is akin to a journey of recovery, where one endeavors to forget chaotic memories, while feeling the need to engage in something to nurture the “inner self” after the passage of time.

FU Ning’s bold strokes, occasionally unleashed with sweeping gestures, cleave open the ruptures in the images, threading through the semi-figurative subjects and spaces. In other instances, strokes intertwine like densely packed dots, resembling soil turned over and over. Stirring, dragging, stretching, and fluidly wielding the brush, FU Ning instills tension in her entire painting language, with primarily punctuated expressions. In contrast, the unmixed bright hues applied with broad strokes attempt to harmonize with the stones and soil that emerge after the turnover.

These heterogeneous visual languages, material handling, the arcs traversing the canvas, segmentation, overturning of canvas or pigment layers, priming, and blending techniques — all constitute material explorations can be interpreted as FU Ning’s effort to employ distinct practice and rhythm, aiming to break away from the banality of images. In the mingling, it forms a metaphorical depiction of the fragmented contemporary visual experience.

FU Ning , Windless stretch, 2017 Ink on paper 15 X 24 cm
FU Ning , Valley of misreading, 2023 Acrylic on canvas 72.5 X 50 cm
FU Ning , Black dog, 2017 Ink on paper 14 X 14 cm

— Exhibitions and & Gallery Information —

Exhibitions| Fu Ning Solo Show-Red eyes when I miss you

Deadline|2023.11.11 - 2023.12.17

OPEN |Tus. ~ Sat. 11:00–19:30

Gallery & Address | Hiro Hiro Art space (№10, Shausing S. St., Taipei, Taiwan)

Web | https://hirohiroartspace.com/

E-Mail|info@hirohiroartspace.com

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Art Critic Hu Jungyi 胡鐘尹

自由撰稿人 藝評人 hujungyi1990@ gmail.com 慣常以情境式書寫的人文關懷,回溯藝術個體之獨特內外在經驗,闡發其藝 術創作形式與心理內蘊的轉換,更以一種類精神分析的態度,帶領觀者進入藝術家的內在世界。