Influences From the East

Gillian Arkley & Chun-Chao Chiu Influences From the East (25 June 2021 – 29 July 2021) (Gallery 45)

The location of Gallery 45 in the small Northumberland village of Felton is quite charming, on a quiet main street with parking literally outside of the door.  The gallery in which this exhibition takes place is just to the left of the entrance door, in the lounge.   Artworks by both artists are alternated around the room in a way which contrasts their different materials and designs, adding depth to the display. 

In Chun-Chao Chiu’s work which is on display, he has few straight lines or angularity within his pieces, it has a hard precision to the placement of each object in his compositions.  In his artwork Blossom Village he has used the cherry blossom trees to tie together the people talking beneath with the village in the background in a manner which tells a story as the eyes move across the picture.  The complexity of this picture lies in the way in which he has used space, and recession in a way that is different to most European conceptions of that space, giving it away as a piece of far Asian art.  His work when viewed is very open and inviting, almost asking the viewer to step on into the ensuing conversation within, and explore the village. 

Moving around this small exhibit, Tokyo Gingko by Gillian Arkley is the next is the next piece that really speaks to me in any meaningful way.  Her two long rectangular panels, which are representations of the Gingko trees found all around Tokyo have striking patterns on them.  Her panels each have different though complimentary patterns, leaves, and geometric designs.  The compositions, though loaded with different shapes work extremely well together and make an attempt to demonstrate the viewing of these trees in both summer and winter foliage.  The star shapes and rectangular patterns are almost reminiscent of looking though the leaves of a tree on a sunny day.  Arkley, it appears, within this exhibition makes much more use of the straight line and corner than Chiu does. 

Highlights of Chiu’s other artworks within the exhibition include a pair of chrysanthemums that are just divine as well as an open landscape scene towards a far Asian style village, but painted in what looks to be more of a western art style than the Blossom Village picture, with spacial recession set out in the European manner.  The highlight of the exhibition from his work for me, was Irises, the deep greens blues and violets capture the intensity as well as the delicacy of these flowers in such a subtle way.  There is the feeling almost of being able to reach out and touch the flowers.  His work displayed here demonstrates a range of different skills and styles, all of which would stand to make a fantastic exhibition in their own right.  

It is interesting how well this exhibition works even though the two artists have chosen to use completely different materials and styles of art to compose their displayed work, rather than becoming disjointed because of this, it feels more tied together, with the title theme of eastern influence really standing out in both artists work.  While the exhibition itself is only small, there are other things going on in Gallery 45 also to take note of, like resident artists studios. 

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