Stella Lai, the spotlight artist of the week, is a Chinese-American painter who grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in San Francisco. You can currently see her work at the University of Virginia Art Museum along with other artists from both China and the US.
The reason her work caught my attention was that these are paintings and collages, not digital work. They are so precise and mechanical, they look like they were done with a computer, yet they also have subtle traces of a human. To me, they are wrought with the nervous technological energy of modern culture. Hong Kong used to be a place that was oozing with rich cultural history that was visibly evident. Granted, I have never been to Hong Kong, but when I think of contemporary Hong Kong I think of a large, bustling, and hugely international city much like New York. Of course in New York there is a rich culture everywhere you go, but has evolved into its own unique isolated culture of New York. I imagine that Hong Kong is similar? (I think that kind of environment is very stimulating and fascinating).
The bi-polarness of her work reflects the manic traits of modern culture. Yes, her work is primarily about Chinese culture, but the meaning of her work can be applied to any modern culture; bi-polar histories with hyperactive metropolis' overtaken by a monster in the disguise of consumption.
"Using a visual library of fragments of Hong Kong's history, I have created paintings that accurately reflect the city's present nervous condition," -Stella Lai
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