Using a variety of media including wood, bronze, urethane and ceramic, Anne Chu incorporates painting into unexpected materials, exploring established artistic conventions of the East and West and drawing from various art making traditions. For Chu, painting is not independent of sculpture nor does it function as mere decoration; rather it is intrinsic to the form of the work.
Anne Chu’s previous work has included T’ang dynasty-inspired funerary ceramic figures of guardians, court ladies, civil officials and musicians, sculpted Asian and Western landscapes, and luminous watercolors characterized by a subtle tension between abstraction and figuration. Recently Chu has turned her attention to European cultural history, and in this exhibition investigates mythic traditions of the West through sculptures and watercolors of medieval subjects. Her sculptures of kings and queens, knights on horseback and castles are carved from wooden blocks, fused together then painted. The carved surfaces are left rough and reveal the intense hand working of the artist. Chu’s treatment of materials and subjects shifts conventional understandings of familiar ideas and objects and poses questions concerning the wider relationships between form and content. Meaning does not lie within the iconography of her subjects, but rather in how the subject is used to investigate broader artistic ideas. By divesting her figures of any spiritual significance, Chu’s work ultimately serves to question meaning in tradition. Familiar and foreign, modern and ancient, her art plays on memory and aesthetic expectations.