In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This week he talks about ‘Blue Serenade’, acrylics on canvas, 90 cm wide x 100 cm high, 2012, from Paul Chang.
The work that Paul Chang made several years ago, still mostly held on to reality. Sometimes it’s a big step for an artist to let go of that reality, and jump head first into the depth of abstraction. Although I cannot predict what he will be doing in the future, his works from 2012 and 2013 seem to have left reality behind them. The surroundings serve only to inspire the freedom of the loose, expressionistic style he employs to search for a composition that touches, that stimulates curiosity.
This painting, ‘Blue Serenade’, is a good example thereof. Of course it depicts shapes that refer to reality – the flowery foreground, the ‘trunk’ in the center – but it is mostly a sophisticated exercise in the use of color. The bright light-blue background makes it appear as though the other shapes are moving around within the space. This is probably also because as a viewer, you tend to quickly associate blue with the sky. The background also makes the other colors stand out better. It makes the whole cheerful. As though the sun is shining down upon it.
A serenade is also a musical piece. In that regard the different shapes in this work are the springy notes on a stave. To whom the serenade is brought, is not that hard to find out. Given his other work, it is in the first place a serenade to the beauty of nature. That of Suriname and that of Florida, where Paul Chang has been living and working for over 25 years, but especially to nature in general. By abstracting the nature, he has lifted her to universal level.
This work reminds me, not in the last place, of the water lilies of Claude Monet (1915/1916). Those are admittedly closer to reality, but the colors, the style of painting and the composition could have influenced Paul Chang.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Paris, August 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to see this and other work of Paul Chang ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Paul Chang please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/paulchang.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on September 24, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on September 24, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.