New work in Social Transformations, a group show at the Pao Galleries in Hong Kong.
In this installation a two panel painting is paired with a two channel video. The painting replicates an old black and white family photograph of a mother and child, but massively enlarged. The two figures are painted in a highly illusionistic style but in a tonal cobalt blue monochrome. Up close they are slightly out of focus and the key focal object, which the holds their gaze, is blurred to the point of obscurity. In contrast the background is painted in a totally flat style, with a flat blob of paint falling directly on top of one of the “3D” figures, reinstating the flatness of the painted surface and undermining the illusionary realism. The videos echo the diptych format, the two looped and unsynced videos never fully coming into focus. One shows a close up single figure, head only, partially concealed in some kind of cloak or oversized hood. She is slowly revolving, but each time her face is partially revealed the focus blurs just as she might become recognisable. In the other, a crowded street scene gradually comes almost into focus, lingering at its clearest passage on a woman crossing the road towards us. They may or may not be the same people from the painting, but they are both connected and separated across time and space.
The work deliberately combines traditional and abstract styles of painting with video of both highly stylised performative action and everyday scenes to amplify the layers of complexity across generational relationships and identity formation.
Fictive memories aren’t not true, 2018
Diptych, acrylic on canvas, 153 x 215 cm, two channel video, 01:13, 01:56, looped, overall dimensions variable
I have a new work on show at Art Space IAa in Jeju City, South Korea, until 22 July. The show is called Description of Absence and explores the impossibility, or at least the complexity, of the representation of identity. The show includes 20 South Korean artists and 11 from Hong Kong, China, Poland, Portugal, Germany and Turkey.
My piece, Cloaking Device, is the latest iteration in an ongoing series that explores the complexity of dual identity. These artworks consider the body as a repository of meaning, a physical reality forever in the present, remembering and continually in the process of being formed and re-formed; the body as an instrument that writes its own personal narrative.
This work uses images, reworked and reiterated across a range of media to both obscure and open out the possibilities of representation. Calligraphic silhouettes are derived from physical movements and installed larger than life size extending from the wall down onto the floor. The video echoes the forms in endless circular motion without ever repeating them exactly.
Cloaking Device, 2018
Video 02:55, felt, overall dimensions variable
My work Choreograph is in the exhibition Silk Road: Portal to World Imagination at Xi’an Art Museum in China. I’m very excited to show the piece in such an amazing space alongside a great line up of artists from around the world.
Xi’an Art Museum is part of a relatively new arts complex built in 2009, home to the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra, Concert Hall, and the Art Museum which focuses on contemporary art.
felt, 1.78 x 13.4m
For one night only, Wayang Malam 2: short films, videos and animations. Very pleased that my short video Through was selected for this open air event in Singapore, using the side of a white truck as the projector screen. After dark moving images… turns out Wayang Malam means nightmare in Malay!
My solo show, Enduring Reality Part 3, was the final part of a trilogy of shows at Hidden Space, Hong Kong. The installation featured felt wall/floor pieces and video.
My turn to give the artist talk in our four person show, Man-made by Nature at Hong Kong City Hall. The show also featured Katie Ho, Lawrence Lee and Matthew Tsang Man Fu.
Transience 1-12, 2017
inkjet prints, each 80 x 80 cm
My Amplification series of photographs was selected for the 2016 edition of IMAF, a multi media installation and performance art festival in Serbia. This series had just been incorporated into the installation, Carapace, on show in Melbourne so these prints are seeing more of the world than me this year!
Carapace, 2016, 5 C-type prints each 35 x 35cm, felt, overall dimensions variable
My piece Carapace has been included in The Museum of International Connectivity, a group show curated by Dr. Phil Edwards in The Dirty Dozen space in Melbourne. The show brings together 16 artists from Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and Korea to explore the themes of identity, locality and temporality.
Carapace is a sequence of five photographs and the husk left behind by a discarded outsize garment.
The Dirty Dozen is an underground exhibition space in Campbell Arcade in Melbourne, part of the maze of laneways with interesting things to discover. If you’re in Melbourne before the end of June drop in, or rather drop down.
Schism, 2016, felt, muslin, 7.82m x 4.21m
The year started with an international multidisciplinary show in Hong Kong: Crossing Border/Border Crossing.
I was given the opportunity to go big and create a site specific work covering three stories of the internal courtyard at JCCAC. The resulting piece is called Schism. The fracture in Schism is actually a hugely magnified version of a video still. It shows the space visible for an instant between a hip and an arm during a choreographed movement while wearing oversized garments that obscure the body’s shape.
Enrobed III, 2014, ink on 300 gms paper, 76.2 x 393.5 cm, (186 individual 12.7 x 12.7 cm squares)
Mantle, 2014, video, 05:10
Endless Singularity 3, 2016, felt, 2.65m x 7.2m
Two of my artworks were selected for the inaugural Shenzhen Biennale: Through, a video installation, and Endless Singularity, an ongoing series of site specific pieces made from felt.
This Time, my MFA graduate show is on at the Pao Galleries, Hong Kong, until 20 September.
Choreograph 2, 2015, felt, dimensions variable
Class 11: Any other, unclassified, exotic, e.g. Lone Star, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 91.5 x 122cm
A short story about gardening and time travel, 2015, installation, framed 18th C botanical print, armchair, headphones, mp3 player, audio 08:51, overall dimensions variable
Tropical Lab is an annual summer residency at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. This year I was one of 26 artists brought from around the world from as far afield as Indonesia, Japan, Serbia, Australia the UK and USA. We were invited to respond to the notion of island and the resulting show, Tropical Lab 9: Island, runs until 10 September at the ICA. If you’re in Singapore drop in.
felt, dimensions variable
Endless singularity, 2015
Enrobed II, in Still here, still, moving, 2015
The Remembering Body, 2015
After two years of research and art making I’ve completed my Masters. I put on three separate shows as part of my finals. The first, Endless Singularity was an installation made from felt that filled the space, carpeting the entire floor and with semi abstract shapes based on amplified body movements rising up the walls. Still here, still, moving brought together works in a wide range of media, including print, ink drawing, video and installation, with an emphasis on both duality and aspects of drawing. The final assessment show was The Remembering Body. In this selection the focus was on embodied identity and the representation of the complexity of a dual narrative.
looped video 02:44, looped muslin screen, acrylic rods, monofilament, projector, projector housing, dimensions variable
My solo exhibition Peripheral is part of the Lightscape Projects series in Melbourne, Australia. The project utilises purpose built light boxes installed in public spaces around the city. Peripheral brings together related artworks from my interdisciplinary practice: a detail from a painting on canvas, ink drawings on paper, a mixed media felt on canvas piece and three stills from a video performance.
felt and acrylic on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm
Recently, I had the chance to curate a pop-up show with artist Katie Ho in the Gallery of Hong Kong Art School at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Curated, assembled and installed in a day – there’s nothing like a deadline for getting organised and finishing work! The show itself, Passageway, was fleeting, but the experience gave us a whole new insight into the complexity of curating a coherent show.
Artworks from Passageway (clockwise from top left): Anna Chung, Roof Top, 2015, paper, wood, metal wire, thread, dimensions variable; Katie Ho, Skull, 2015, newsprint, masking tape, 70 x 70 cm; Tina Choi, Untitled, 2015, clear tape, plastic wrap, 16 x 8.5 x 13 cm; Chi Wong, Passage, 2015, looped video, 05:00; Matthew Tsang, Smoke, 2015, aluminium foil, dimensions variable; Kay Mei Ling Beadman, Swathe, 2015, felt, dimensions variable.
felt, dimensions variable
My installation Pyriscence will be shown in BURNING, a group exhibition by 12 Hong Kong artists. The works range from video installation, drawing, lightscape and performance, linked through both the burning theme and being developed on site in relation to each other. The venue is not a traditional white cube but an alternative space; a lowrise rooftop in the heart of the city overshadowed by towering skyscrapers.
Some of my paintings will be featured by BZ Art Studio at the Asia Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong, 2 – 5 October. Galleries from around the world will be taking over four floors of the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong and turning it into an art fair showcasing painting, prints, photographs and sculpture. We’ll be on the 40th floor, Rm 4008.
For more information about the event go to www.asiacontemporaryart.com
My painting Ancestor II has been selected for the exhibition Lightscape Projects: SIX in Melbourne, Australia. Lightscape Projects are thirteen purpose built light boxes installed in three lanes around the city. This is an initiative that provides an alternative to the traditional gallery space, bringing contemporary artwork into the urban environment and making it accessible to the wider community.
Mine’s the sliver on the far left of the flyer.
Stills from Through
Two of my videos, Through and How to take a passport photo, have been selected for the show This Must be the Place at the RMIT School of Art Gallery, Melbourne, Australia. The exhibition includes work by current Melbourne and Hong Kong students and alumni of the School of Art Master of Fine Art programme and is curated by Katie Paine in collaboration with Coalesce ARI. If you can’t make it to Melbourne, take a look at the videos here.
Still from How to take a passport photo
Grace repeat, 2013, pencil on paper, 110 x 79cm
I’ve been exploring aspects of identity and individual experience. Here I was trying to find a way to represent a subtle physical and mental change. We talk about how we are different people at different times in our lives, or we say something was a lifetime ago, or in another life, or that we’re older and wiser, and so on. And who isn’t acutely aware of the changes that become inscribed on our bodies over time? Together age and experience may reap change in both obvious physical ways and less overtly in shifting attitudes or expanded knowledge but I was also thinking about how on a molecular level cells die from second to second and we are literally different from moment to moment.
In this pencil drawing, I drew the figure on the right first then tried to redraw another version alongside as identically as I could, but inevitably they are minutely different.
Reproduced on their own, you can’t tell whether these paintings are any bigger than a passport photo, so I’m in this shot to give a sense of scale. I was looking at unadorned, head-on, identifying photos – passports, ID cards and closer to home, old family photos where relatives are standing to attention and looking unsmilingly straight ahead, from a generation where a camera was a luxury and a photograph was to be taken very seriously. In the first of these paintings the face started life in colour but became black and white to emphasise the link to old photographs. A recently published article described the passport photograph as “the most universal and democratic form of portraiture“ as well as the “brutality of the photo booth.” I wanted to appropriate the ID format with its harsh rigour but scaled up to alter the relationship with the viewer, make it more assertive. These works are less concerned with a literal identification and more with the idea of the image challenging the viewer to ask “Who is this person? What do we know about them? What can we know about them?”
Nothing entirely by itself (detail)
Everything built upon another thing (detail)
The choreographer Pina Bausch famously observed that she was “less interested in how people move than in what moves them.” There is a sequence in her work Nelken, where a lone man stands and signs along to a sentimental recording of Gershwin’s The Man I Love. The sign language is perfectly synced to the song but apart from the moving hands the man seems otherwise impassive. As the tempo increases, the gestures remain fluid but become increasingly frantic. There seems to be a disjoint between the words and what we see. Gestures have taken centre stage in these recent paintings, with obviously posed hands confined within the backdrop of the model’s clothes, and the clothes reduced to a flat unmodelled area. The hand signals have become very specific, deliberate but are they intended to communicate or obfuscate? I’m not sure this person, or any person, is truly knowable. Hand signals, semaphore, code – what are we trying to say?
My model posted a facebook photo of herself in the studio next to one of the paintings in progress. She titled her post Me visiting myself. Literal but nicely psychological too. Giving autonomy to the hands, one of her friends commented, “Your hands seem ready to do some tricks. Like a magician.” And maybe they are, and maybe she is.
Images in full here.
It’s been a busy start to 2013 and there are new works in the Paintings gallery, including a few more self-portraits. Here’s a detail from Equilibrium where I’ve added another element in the clothing by defining the body through the stripes of the jersey alone rather than with any shading. Initially, the striped top was actually chosen because of its shape rather than the pattern. However, as the work developed, the stripes became a transition area between the flat picture plane background and the realism of the rest of the figure.
The downside is that after a day of focusing on stripes when I look away I can still see them for hours afterwards. Just a small step in this direction has given me a whole new level of respect for the tenacity required to do op art.
Self portrait I
There was a long holiday weekend in Hong Kong recently and both of my regular models were out of town. It was a good opportunity to make a start on a series of self portraits. I’ve had this project in mind for some time and the stack of same size canvases have been primed but gathering dust in a corner. Perhaps close scrutiny of oneself is not always that welcome and so becomes easy to put off.
Anyway here’s the first, prosaically named Self portrait I. On the site it looks large in relation to the other work, but in fact it’s quite tiny, just 25.5cm square. An introspective exchange, a mirror image, a face to the world.
Men in exile feed on dreams, 2013
acrylic on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm
Over the summer I started a new series of paintings featuring figures without obvious narrative context. They’re not intended to be portraits per se, instead I’m interested in how the physical poses evoke an emotion or suggest an otherwise unarticulated reality.
So far, I’ve asked people with a noticeable ease of movement to model, none of whom had done so before. Luckily for me they agreed and have turned out to be particularly versatile. As I tend to work in series, I expect (and hope) the same people will be populating my canvases for some time to come.
Featured in Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), Hi!! LiFE Section, 19 April 2012.
“Kay Beadman’s paintings based on the nuances of the shoe, Stepping Out, … is a treat not to be missed.”
Featured in Ceylon Today, Escape Section, 16 April, 2012.
“The use of colour plays a significant role … The leather Kohlapuri touching a deep saffron surface, the red shoe titled ‘Siren’ for its bold shade of scarlet and the boxed-out, bold backdrops capture the attention of the viewer.”
Featured in Sunday Island (SL), 15 April 2012. “
“…the array of colours and shapes of our amazing country (Sri Lanka) have had an influence on her combinations and approach to colour.”
Featured in Daily News (SL), Artscope Section, 11 April 2012.
“Stepping Out focuses on the mundane … shoe. She has painted it in such a way that she challenges the viewer to examine and connect it to something in their own lives.”
Featured in Sunday Times (SL), PLUS Section, 8 April 2012
“Stepping Out is certainly good enough reason to step out of your home … and head over to the Barefoot Gallery.“
Here are some installation views of the show at the Barefoot Gallery as well as a few photos from the opening reception.
Many thanks to Gallery Director Nazreen Sansoni for hanging it so wonderfully and to the ever efficient Gallery Assistant, Rasika.
And thanks to everyone for coming and making it a lovely party under the stars in the courtyard.
My solo show is now on at the Barefoot Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka, extended until 29 April.
This work takes the shoe as a motif that evokes a human presence; that may literally contain the imprint of the wearer. There are two distinct series that I worked on in parallel for the show. In both, the shoe substitutes for the absent human figure. In the still life series, the shoe is juxtaposed with objects to intentionally suggest a narrative, whereas in the single shoe series I was interested in abstracting areas of the painting to remove obvious narrative whilst allowing colour and the representation of a single object to evoke a reality without overtly defining it.
I chose shoes for both their physical variety and the associations that they provoke. Here is a man-made artifact that encompasses the mundane to the iconic, that may be workaday functional or an aspirational object of desire.
The poem The Broken Sandal, by Denise Levertov, was the starting point for both series. In it she dreams her sandal strap breaks leaving her barefoot and meditating on life’s direction: “Where am I standing, if I’m to stand still now?”