Off the Beaten Track: Matt Connors, Alex Dordoy, Noémie Goudal, Jim Lambie, Victoria Morton, Ji Xin

18 May - 18 June 2022
Installation Views
Press release

Gallery Baton is delighted to announce Off the Beaten Track, a group exhibition of works in various media by internationally renowned artists from 18th May to 18th June 2022.

Trends closely engage with a variety of socio-cultural and economic factors. As onshore winds and tidal currents occurring at certain times according to seasons and regions contributed to the emergence of trade across continents, trends which dominate a period and disappear enable not only each individual to discover her or his taste but the economy to grow. Above all, they correspond to the human instinct to chase novelty. It is obvious that the cycle of trends is shortening in the current society since the advance of technology has reinforced globalization. In a way, it would not be too much to say that there is no longer a predominant style; no more people blindly go after the fashion of flare trousers, disco or the star-studded cast of Hollywood blockbusters.

The Road Not Taken, a representative narrative poem by Robert Frost, consists of reflections appearing while strolling. On the contrary to the plain tone of this idyllic poem reminiscent of confessions, it deals with profound themes which are choices made each day and their consequences. When you travel, deciding where to visit in a limited amount of time implies giving up on other places not taken. Hence, a person’s life is regarded as the sum of choices and the irreversibility of time signifies that the result of the choices can not be undone. Under this condition, trends that reflect the views of the majority offer an escape and comfort to people who are inevitably demanded to make decisions in their life, reducing regret about not being able to choose.     

On the other hand, trends often are contrary to taste. As appreciating art is a process of listening to artists’ voice embodied in visual elements and internalizing it, trends can be unwelcomed in the art scene where diversity should be valued. Especially, the more art is frequently integrated with other fields such as fashion and design, the more the influence of specific tendencies and movements implanted into media considerably increases. At last, it leads to paying attention to the act of “curating” which should be prioritized in terms of establishing an exhibition. A careful deliberation on why participating artists and their works need to be introduced and what impact an exhibition can give on a community is a crucial activity to enrich the exhibition and respect its audience and artists.

Having consistently shown their outstanding artistic achievement, the six artists presented in this exhibition have drawn Baton’s constant attention for a long period of time. The originality, aesthetics and messages delivered in the works by the artists of different genres including painting, installation and video have been acclaimed highly by viewers and critics in the mainstream. It is a meaningful opportunity to discover the artists’ new series that they have prepared for this exhibition. We expect that it will give an inspiring experience of joy and inspiration on the unexpected path guided by Baton.   

Ardent Partner (2022) by Matt Connors (b. 1973, USA), a painting whose bold orange lines float over multiple color patterns arbitrarily arranged, creates a unique ambience of its geometric format. A sense of space achieved by layers of colors and formality of the intersecting lines suggest the artist’s intention of adopting a minimal composition to the realm of abstraction. Combining with splashed dots, the distinct effect of visual elements—as though it was looking over at an outside scenery where steel constructions and plates of colored glass intricately overlap—brings an intriguing dynamic over the entire canvas.

Alex Dordoy (b. 1985, UK), who establishes a new context by borrowing advertisements or design images of the Art Nouveau style, presents two new pieces evoking a contrasting atmosphere depending on their hues and compositions. The Instinct of Flight (2022) describes a melancholic indoor space where a tea table sits by a window and a view of the overcast sky from the window. Plants in monochrome colors and a supposedly depressing weather of the scene metaphorically indicate the absence of daylight; moreover, a teapot on the table and a coat hastily thrown onto a chair generate a bleak impression. On the other hand, Flowers Still for You (2022) graphically portrays a tropical botanic landscape with vivid colors. The contrast of Dordoy’s simple graphic shapes and cinematographic formations enhances a poetic aspect of the work.   

Noémie Goudal (b. 1984, France) explores a realm between realistic and surrealistic dimensions by applying various editing techniques and sound effects onto moving images elaborately filmed in a set installed in particular places like a jungle. Inhale, Exhale (2021), premiered at the Saint- Nazaire in France in October 2021, has sequences whose background is a quiet tropical forest. In the video, a palm tree and an installation camouflaged with the appearance similar to the forest background appear and disappear on the water surface. As the title implies, the creaking sound at intervals of inhale and exhale in the video reminds viewers of a manual stage setting in an early phase of theaters and it consequently causes an uncanny romanticism.    

Jim Lambie (b. 1964, UK) presents Zobop (Wild Poppy) (2021), a psychedelic series whose a number of multiple colored stripes occupy the floor of Blue Baton from the edge meeting the wall to the center of the space. The repetitive array of a red tone gradation and monochrome colors such as white and silver brings about an unexpected sense of speed to the floor which can be easily neglected and it also transforms the floor to an active object sensitively responding to light. In addition, Sun Necklace (2022) composed of the exquisite assemblage of sunglass lenses in multiple colors functions as a ‘ready-made’ stained glass, manifesting the sublime of a wide light spectrum scattered into numerous facets.  

Victoria Morton (b. 1971, UK) has produced abstract paintings exploring regional crashes and harmony emerging from coexisting visual fragments including lines and shapes, directions and speed of brush strokes and the different color temperature. A huge piece, About Listening (2021) creates a peculiar mood as though a symphony’s rhythms and pitches were performed and interactions with its listeners were realized. Crossing a border between harmony and dissonance, her flexible expression in addition to the employment of diverse colors allows shapes, geometric figures, and straight or diagonal lines to delightfully invade each other. Morton’s style of painting conveys the visual outburst of emotions she focused on during a certain period; it can be understood as a contemporary interpretation of Automatism and its clearly intuitive trait encourages viewers to make their own aesthetic and intellectual analysis.  

Ji Xin (b. 1988, China) has inherited the Chinese classical portrait style and reinterpreted it into a pictorial language of contemporary art. Xin has depicted varied alterations of female figures who spend relaxed time in a static and warm space. The artist certainly embraces traditional Eastern aesthetics, emphasizing the balance of images and the pastel-tone colors. Girl with Pearl Earrings (2022) under the same title of the renowned masterpiece by Johannes Vermeer poetically illustrates a sophisticate profile of a woman who subtly lowers her head and bashfully smiles.