press release

Anne Chu’s work is underpinned by a sophisticated and highly conceptual approach to form, content and colour. Renowned for her ability to work with a variety media, in her practice Chu integrates wood, bronze, ceramic, resin and fabric in such a way that one medium is animated by another. Textiles take on the appearance of carvings; sculptures become painted canvases. She draws inspiration from wide-ranging sources, which although at times historically specific, are employed less for their iconographic meaning and more for the subject’s potential for unraveling broader artistic ideas. These new sculptures instigate a dynamic dissonance with regards to how we look at and understand two- and three-dimensional works.

This exhibition includes the first pieces from two new series of work, and features a large ceramic landscape, three birds and a bronze. As is characteristic of Chu’s practice, the relationship between the distinct bodies of work is spatial rather than narrative-driven. The ceramic Three Rocks is a continuation of Chu’s skillful pursuit of abstract landscapes. Operating on two opposing notions of scale, the work is simultaneously suggestive of distant mountain ranges and a close-up view of a rock formation. Viewed from various positions, the Three Rocks appear either to gather themselves together or to visually break apart. The multi-coloured patterned glazes on the ceramics relate to Chu’s series of Rock watercolors on view here and recall her use of printed fabric in earlier work such as Four Mountain Views.

Three exquisite birds - a pigeon, bluebird and starling - typify the ingenuity with which Chu renders her subject matter. The birds are life-sized embroidered figures made with computer driven embroidery, and further prioritize conflation of drawing and sculpture as a basis for the artist’s work. Although the computer is used as a tool, the intervention of Chu’s own hand to manipulate and redefine the language the programme generates affects a result akin to drawing in three dimensions.

The bronze is of a figure that has previously appeared in Chu’s work, and portrays the subject of Velazquez’s El Primo (or The Favorite) - a portrait of a dwarf in the court of King Philip IV of Spain in 1644.

As mentioned above, a selection of watercolours also features in the show. Chu’s work on paper is intrinsic to the realisation and form of her sculptural practice. The drawings similarly waver between representation and abstraction, density and openness, offering the artist a different means of exploring formal concerns.

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Anne Chu