Fragrant Harbour - Golden Gate
Galerie Waterton, Chicago
Featuring the recent works of Hong Kong artist Claire Lau. This exhibition assembles paintings from two of the cities Claire has called home in the past few years – Hong Kong and San Francisco. Her work explores the unique spatial relationship between nature and metropolis through two series of paintings: cityscapes on a macro level, banyan trees and succulents on a micro level.
A commonality that draws Claire to both cities is their mountainous geography. From the hilltops, Claire investigates the system and the structure of the land, analyzing how everything fits together. The grandeur of the views humbles her, realizing that as individuals we are one small joint in a web of connections. Choosing locations around her everyday urban life, Claire contemplates the spaces that unfold above, below and around her, compressing multiple perspectives onto a single canvas.
Despite the similar geography, the two cities enjoy a drastically different weather. While banyan trees and mountain figs are the mammoth of Hong Kong’s subtropical climate, cacti and succulents define California, especially in face of its drought. To Claire, the banyan trees’s gestures are metaphoric for life’s cycles: roots spread aboveground, climb up, hang down as air roots, twist and merge with each other to form new trunks. On the other hand, the colossal prickly pear cacti and agave plants represent resilience and explosive life forces. While contemplating the different characters of these plants, Claire also explores how they interact with the human intervention, bursting from concrete sidewalks and metal fences.