Miguel Vallinas’ stunning humanised animals
Miguel Vallinas’ stunning humanised animals

Animals loose in Hong Kong art hotel

Art September 24, 2017 10:05

By THE NATION

J Plus by Yoo, Hong Kong’s first art hotel, and Van Rensburg Galleries are presenting “Menagerie”, an enigmatic, edgy and imaginative exhibition at their dedicated art space Art@JPlushk, on the ground floor of the hotel, through December 15.



J Plus invites art enthusiasts to step into the world of fantasy and illusion in an exciting new collaboration with Van Rensburg.  

Ushering in a new season of chic, stylish art to go with the passing of summer, the exhibition offers a selection of Van Rensburg’s most captivating art.

“Since 2014 we have been actively working with both local artists such as Zoie Lam – known for her food-inspired literal creations – and celebrated photographer Pazu Chan,” says hotel general manager Vivian Chau

“We have also had works from international artists and galleries from around the world, such as FinDAC and Cat Street Gallery.”

“Menagerie” captures the hotel’s dynamic and captivating essence with emblematic and thought-inspiring pieces. 

Guests are invited to explore beyond the constraints of their daily lives and embark on a mystical adventure. The exhibition not only explores the physical manifestation of a menagerie, but also the “menagerie of the mind”, where fragments of ideas, dreams and imagination reside. 

 

It is in these depths that the five artists featured in this exhibition find inspiration for their work.

Madrid-based photographer Miguel Vallinas is showing highlights from three of his acclaimed series, presenting the stunning visual of humanised animals, as an adage of the exploration between human nature and the animal kingdom. 

These include a charmingly dressed cassowary featured in “Second Skins”, which explores the tendency of humans to perceive others based on their appearance in relation to whom they really are and who they would like to be.

“Retrato Numero 16” features a beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas in an equally stylish dress, set against a stark black background, which begs the question of whether appearance changes the perception and essence of our being.

 

Vallinas’ “Ceci N’est Pas” collection takes on a more playful challenge of personifying ordinary objects. The photographer began his “Second Skins” series with the intention of ‘investigating the animal in us all. 

A well-dressed teapot, a dapper globe, and animals dressed in contemporary outfits posing as humans aptly named “Not a Tea Pot” and “Not a Globe” dismissing their true “self” in lieu of a more sophisticated version of themselves they would like to project.

Colin Douglas Gray and Adam Frezza embark on an equally imaginative interpretation of the exhibition theme in “Alexa” from their “Animal Friends” series. 

A compilation of personified animals collectively form an objectified menagerie, with each animal playing a crucial part in constructing a gleeful Christmas tree on a plain, white background. 

 

The New York-based artists utilise collages of handcut paper culled from a vast collection of both popular and esoteric published source-material. Each piece is simultaneously humorous, playful, curious and beautiful.

Janet Parker Smith challenges the animal-centric pieces of her peers with delicately conveyed motifs of nature’s evolution to survive. 

Highlights include her digital prints “Read into It What You Will”, featuring altered book sculptures transformed from their former incantation. The pages are folded, torn, and removed, becoming a metaphor for the destruction of the environment. 

Adding doll parts and pictures from children’s stories suggests innocence, trust, freedom and hope. 

Meanwhile, “Sitting Pretty” features a woman of beauty’s head superimposed into ordinary things, questioning both the identity and the objectification of a woman.

 

Tami Bahat, aspiring artist from Los Angeles, has a deep love for imperfect beauty and a strong belief that art is in everyone. 

“The Intellectual” and “The Reader” pieces feature a woman trying to hide behind a book and the other turning her head in shock to discover a snake on her shoulders while reading. Inspired by her love for the Old Masters of art, Bahat strives to push the boundaries of her own imagination, as well as the viewer's through striking perspectives and master manipulation of lighting.

Shifting from a physical menagerie to a more metaphorical definition of a menagerie of the mind, Veronica Green, a young artist from New Zealand, recognised as a revolutionary in the world of abstract figurative art, contemplates the world view through the lens of a child, who is ever so curious of the unknowns in this world. 

“Earl Grey” depicts an innocent child looking about her surroundings in wonder, while “The Embrace” shows a young boy pulling a Dalmatian in for a hug.

Earl Grey’s “Opportunities” has a feeling of despair that contradicts its title that gives hope. The piece depicts a man drowning in his own indecision. However, Vanessa believes not in failure, but in continued discovery of things previously unseen that is fresh and tinged with silver linings. 

The work of the artist from New South Wales is highly influenced by plucking blooms of the Southern Highlands where she lives, determining the composition and mood of her paintings.

For more information, call (852) 3196 9000 or visit www.JPlusHongKong.com.