Sunday, February 22, 2009 n

Recently went to the opening of ' n'. Ignoring the now predictable definitions of drawing that seem to be inescapable in any drawing based show the pieces on display were high quality and interesting.

Three China based artists Liao Yang (Shanghai), Wang Chao (Hangzhou) and Nial O'Connor (Shanghai).

Found Nial O'Connor's paintings fascinating because they were displayed with the doodles around the outside of the edge of the finished cartoon graffiti based realistic images. Giving these works a contrast between the free gestural expression of the not normally for show marks on the border of the paper and the tight but equally expressive though more laboured 'finished' water colour pieces in the centre of the paper. The visual stimuli of his work being, street China but in a style referencing manga and graffiti. I liked how on one piece the surrounding doodles appeared to move into a completely different train of thought from the image being painted - joyful creative tangents.

Wang Chao's animation 'Shudra' reminded me of William Kentridge with its smudgy charcoal stop animation. But, Wang Chao's work had a sound track of industrial electrical sounds, the empty unfriendly city with fear and uncertainty around every corner, the urban dystopia. The black and white animation started bleeding with the official red chop that is inescapable from everyday Chinese life: A powerful tool validating papers of various persuasions bleeding into every corner from Starbucks receipts to validating identity.

Liao Yang's carefully detailed drawings of Chinese workers were comic and insightful containing piety and hilarity - a modern day Hogarth. Liked the almost etched liked quality of each line in Yang's work using white as a highlight alongside pencil.

Show is on until 5th March