Osage Gallery: Ringo Bunoan + Ng Joon Kiat + Yong Rim Lee + Yu Ji “Poetics of Materiality”

(1/4 – 2/4/2014) 4/F Union Hing Yip Factory Bldg, 20 Hing Yip St, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, http://www.osagegallery.com

Four artists in whose work – according to the curator (Charles Merewether) – materiality (the quality of the material) plays an important role. All of the artists (or at least those I knew) seem to have been re-exhibiting older works. Yu Ji managed to cover three series of her works – little plaster cubes glued into fragile box-like objects (a few years old work), concrete body torsos violently tied to the wall with prominent metal supports (recent 1-2 years) and a mysterious black cone-shaped object made from wax, a new work for me, probably from 2013. Yong Tim Lee’s work consists of painted wooden boards. Out of three ‘types’ (natural wood relief – monochrome pastel colors, wood panel assemblage – contrasting pastel colors and wood panel objects – different hues of yellow) I  found the natural wood reliefs the most interesting – a plain plank of wood, polished so that the pattern of the wood became three dimensional, painted over in muted colors. With the right lighting, the relief produced an interesting light and shadow play. Ng Joon Kiat whose work has to do equally with the materiality of paint as a material as well as with the representation of geographical territories showed a set of eight works – different colors but all same size. I like the ‘green/white and ‘blue/white’ series which look most map-like. Pity that the small canvas size hung repetitively on the wall made it look like some Ikea merchandise, even though it was not. Ringo Bunoan was the least ‘material’ of the four artists, because the donated stacked pillows were probably not on site in order to admire their shapeless presence. However it was material in the sense that the previous sentence described both the material and the work itself. So I feel this work did not fit in, as it obviously made conceptual references to metaphors connected with pillows and not their materiality in itself. Overall a tame and muted show, not too overloaded with works or meaning – some simple non-figurative work pleasant to look at, nothing more and nothing less.