Chris Oh: Landscapes
Fortnight Institute is pleased to present, Landscapes, the artist's second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Appropriation has long been understood as one of the defining practices of modern art. This art of the copy however, is not limited to that which came after the age of reproduction. The conscious duplication of preexisting artworks is as present in Warhol as it is in Ovid’s reconfigurations of Virgil. The push and pull between homage and authorship is central to an artist forming their own language; and just as Rubens copied and contorted the work of Titian, Chris Oh co-opts masterpieces from the Western canon in order to forge his own singular oeuvre.
With each exhibition Oh mounts, he selects one of the great Old Masters from Western art history as his primary reference. For Landscapes, that artist is Hieronymus Bosch, and more specifically, his masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1503-1515). In the words of Northern Renaissance art historian James Snyder, this is a work that is “so surprising, so overwhelming, that we momentarily forget all others we have seen.” In taking in this sublime triptych, Oh focuses his telescopic lens on individual moments of wonder within the frenzied scene, offering us precious fragments parsed from the Rablesian panorama. Oh mimetically renders these majestic images with astounding technical skill, made even more impressive by his choice to replicate these visions on the unyielding surfaces of found objects, which in this show range from seed packets, to crystals, bookstacks and terrariums. Many of these objects relate to imagery found within Earthly Delights, which features an abundance of crystalline objects, wild fauna and curious tomes. Each found surface presents its own challenge of dexterity, which Oh zealously embraces, molding his images around their slick and cragged planes.