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Human Presence - Mariana Cui (IB-HL) - 3D virtual exhibition by BCIS SS Visual Art -2020

Human Presence - Mariana Cui (IB-HL)

Fri, 04/17/2020 to Tue, 06/16/2020

curated by:

By presenting this body of work, I wish to evoke thoughtful responses within my viewer where they reflect on the nature of human presence, including our relationship with the world, what constitutes the presence of people, and how non-human things can reflect human presence.
My exploration of “human presence” is inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings of urban life and a series of watercolor pieces by Xi Jiu on Weibo. While Hopper explores the relationship between people and city, specifically focusing on themes such as solitude, Xi Jiu explores the way scenes and objects can reflect a sense of humanity which stimulates the feeling of nostalgia. These two artists inspired me to examine the concept of human presence and its different perspectives.
Initially, I wanted to express human presence merely through the portrayal of daily life by presenting details of life, such as a glass of water or a blanket, that usually go unnoticed in our busy daily routines. However, this theme developed as I discovered more sides of human presence I wish to explore. I decided to also examine our relationship with our surroundings and the different forms of human presence. By expanding the ways I approach the theme of human presence, I wish to evoke thoughtful responses within the viewer where they can reflect on the niche of humans as a species, a civilization, and/or as individuals in this world.
My collection puts an emphasis on movement, conveying a strong sense of atmosphere. From the roads in Lockdown and the birds in Flight to the sense of fluidity in Oops and Ambition, I wish to use movement to convey a sense of action, elevating the vividness of my artworks, thus highlighting the sense of “life” in the subjects of my work.
I used oil paint for three of my works because of the variety of techniques I can use (impasto to create texture and glazing to create gradience). Oil paint also has the advantage of bright colors, allowing the objects I paint to appear vibrant and lively, reinforcing the delivery of my theme. Meanwhile, I used pen/pencil, or a style in black and white that has less emotional quality, for works where the emphasis isn’t on the intimacy of human presence, but rather its factual existence (An Injury) or the coldness of the lack of it (Lockdown). I also attempted digital art, which allowed me to experiment with color/textural combinations in Flight and create a sense of photorealism in Ambition. Lastly, I used photography for Urban lights because the realism allows the viewer to easily relate themselves to the artwork. I used a variety of mediums and styles in order to echo how I portray a variety of perspectives to understanding/conveying human presence.
I intend to arrange my artworks on three different walls, which follows my exploration of the different aspects of human presence. On the left, I examine human presence in relation to nature. In the middle, I shift my focus to inanimate objects that reflect details of daily life. On the right, I explore our presence within the unique urban ecosystems of cities. My collection comprises of artworks that fall on a spectrum between realism and surrealism. Thus, my artworks are also arranged in a way so that as the viewer walks from left to right (or vice versa), they not only experience a subtle change in theme, but also experience the stylistic transition of my collection.
I intend to exhibit my work in a simplistic center-line (approximately eye level) arrangement in a closed area. Through this, I intend to close in the distance between the viewer and my work and make it easier for them to feel immersed in the atmosphere. I intend to choose light grey as the color of the wall because it emphasizes light (in value) artworks like An Injury and dark artworks like Ambition, and doesn’t take attention away from my works. The color is also neutral, allowing the mood and atmosphere of the area to be flexible according to each viewer’s response to my work.

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