One day, the left avoid the right and they stop talking since then. Another day, her only companion is her favourite high heels, then … “Day after day after day” lures audience to make story or sense out of the visual hints.
Gallery Exit showcases Hong Kong artist Lulu Ngie’s recent works from Aug 17 to Sep 7. Her artistic practice is said to be non-narrative, without a specific definition as she depicts monotonous silhouette or minimal form of people at unknown setting. Yet the facial feature of simple brushstrokes holds a sophisticated expression somewhat like pondering or wandering, contentment or resentment; some look outward as if they voraciously speak with the eyes, whereas some are very expressive with legs and arms. The attentive body language is sending a message out of the frame which is open for interpretation. Hence, a story comes naturally beyond the pictorial presentation.
Through her usual medium of ink on paper, the artist embraces fluidity that the reaction between ink and water is spontaneous. A line is formed by the time the ink dries, without further alteration. The notion of leaving space in Chinese ink art denotes the stillness of mind inside the characters. In Left Right series, the (right) character in black shawl looks uninterested against an empty backdrop while the sluggish (left) character leaning in front of a dark space seemingly keeps a distance. The contrasting spaces juxtapose each other but the lack of interaction unfolds a parting story.
Apart from ink on paper works, Ngie introduces body of works in oil paints that she started to explore last year. Oil paint provides opportunity of layering that the characters are always in subtle movement so long as her brushstroke continues. In a recent oil work Indoor temperature (top image), an eye-catching red high-heel with a shrinking posture exaggerates the shade (of another man?) superimposing on the depicted character. The canvas has recorded the time in action and witnessed what happened.
Be it an inky improvisation or a predicted oil-based medium, there is a common state of being in Ngie’s works – solitariness. But this feeling does not stay long because you will be lost in time and space of the vivid narration beyond the paintings.
“day after day after day” by Lulu Ngie
Visited Gallery Exit, Aberdeen on Aug 17
The article was also published at a.m post, Sep 2013 edition.