Abstraction as a genre of art is incredibly elusive and intricate. Most abstract expressionists, such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Williem de Kooning created works of expansive color palette on the surface. While celebratory works of theirs became an iconography of the genre, I suppose each distinctive style could be perceived as a microcosmic representation of the artist’s background, values, and experiences. Alike other stylistic expressions, abstract expressionism is extremely personalized. It conveys the artist’s values, perspective and understanding on the world, on people, on justice, and the cycle of life and death.

Hence, for people who say they never understood abstract art, or others who share their profound knowledge on abstract art, perhaps it is time to hit pause, and read through the artist’s upbringing and influences for a better understanding of their abstract expressions.

Because I, for one, know I still have a long way to go.

Last Monday, as I passed through the intersection in Central, I was captivated by the shimmering lights at The Fringe Club. With colorful paperworks dangled by the glass door, I saw a landscape of abstract portraitures. I had to go in.

Mumbles on Other Dimensions – An Exhibition of 100 Pieces of Art by David Cow displays his latest artistic expression. With a background in digital and illustrative design, David exploration in painting is daring and intricate. According to the artist, each portrait explores our subconscious desire and aura of the human condition. In comparison to design, the meaning of color in abstracted works are more personalized.

In Psychosis Series (2020), swirls of thick impasto amber yellow and highlight pink constructs portraiture of a male. As the color cascades on the canvas, each gestural stroke creates an illusion of a border for the colors. Together, the series reminds me of legendary Post-Impressionist masters, such as Vincent van Gogh.

Psychosis Series 1201 (2020) 
Acrylic on paper 
32 x 24 cm 

Nevertheless, the intentional use of color in David Cow’s oeuvre differs from the Impressionists. David aims to challenge traditional knowledge of colors that was taught in school. He firmly believes that different shades of color can correlate with many emotions. For instance, red is known to represent anger, passion, and love. However, darker or lighter shades of red could also correlate to sadness and grief or more. In addition, complimentary colors applied in other portraitures of this exhibition highlights our sight limitation.

Half Dragon Half Human Creature – Mozart (2020)
Acrylic on canvas 
30 x 30 cm 

In Wollow Out (2020), shades of orange, blue and purple transcends a mystifying ambience. In a dark environment, our sight would automatically perceive shades of orange to fill in for invisible rays to the naked eye.

Wollow Out (2020) 
Acrylic on canvas 
41 x 30cm 

In Energy Shower (2020), shades of purple and red makes up the shadow of the individual. Such rich and dynamic colors in this portraiture strives to retrain and enhance our mind and sight to look for colors in between the color of brown.

Energy Shower (2020)
Acrylic on canvas 
30 x 30cm 

As a collective, the series confronts many facets of the human psyche, and emotions. From David’s abstracted works, we can clearly see his goal to expand our knowledge of colors, perception and memory. In hopes to challenge your thinking, what colors and emotions do you see in his latest series?

《喃喃次元人》– 張天行一百畫展

‘Mumbles on Other Dimensions’ – ​- An Exhibition of 100 Pieces of Art by David Cow

Date: 2020.10.12 — 2020.10.23

Time: 11AM — 7PM, Sunday Closed

Venue: 香港中環下亞釐畢道2號藝穗會陳麗玲畫廊

Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong

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