The Michael Ku Gallery will be presenting “Strenuous Journey II,” an all-new solo exhibition that will be in view from July 10. As a follow-up to the exhibition “Strenuous Journey I: Selected Works by Wei Jia between 2008-2018”, this exhibition will feature the new works of the artist and is presented as a unique double solo exhibition, with exhibitions both in the Michael Ku Gallery in Taipei and the MANGROVEGALLERY in Shenzhen. Showcased in “Strenuous Journey” are works that Wei created between 2020 and 2022, including Strenuous Journey I (exhibited in Taipei) and Strenuous Journey II (exhibited in Shenzhen).
The Chinese title for the exhibition refers to a troop made up of excellent talent. However, Wei Jia’s “Strenuous Journey” takes the literal meaning from its English title: an expedition and a path filled with stamina.
Since 2020, Wei Jia’s brushwork and the colors he uses have wandered between the figurative and abstract, and between classical and modern styles, pursuing a sense of grandeur and freedom. The development of Wei’s brushwork shows a dynamic trajectory, the composition allowing a sense of all-around fluidity.
Wei Jia is an expert on “narrative,” solidifying a moment into a scene in his paintings, which emerges according to the requirement of the narrative amid the expansion of time and space. The “void” in the background can also become rich with substance, while the substance of the physical may contain a sense of void within, an aspect that is similar to time. The theme of the narrative can be an image or photograph that fuels the imagination or a familiar person or scene from reality. None of these are complex plots but attempt to express certain states of life. The people in the images do not have obvious emotions, and the neutral approach of the artist leaves both the paintings and their viewers the freedom to engage in dialogues.
The mother with her son in her arms in 2020.2.10, the man wrapped by a snake in Laocoon, or the figures who seem to be in exile in Wilderness Lovers, are all visual memories of classical artworks that have been reinterpreted to become relevant to modern life. Blooming and Garden show the independent but intertwined state between individuals and the collective; Strenuous Journey I depicts two men (who seem like brothers) wading through the water, the sun beaming down on them as they set off on their separate and unique futures.