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Boo Sze Yang at the Substation

This small show of  acrylics on canvas is an interesting introduction to an artist in the making. Boo, who studied in England, brought together a collection of paintings that, while stylistically very similar, are refreshing in their directness and openness. The canvases' surface textures are built up, for the most part, through short rapid brushstrokes, which lend the works a sense of sharp movement as if expressing a certain tension within the artist. Being V (1995), in which reds, yellow dominate, gives the viewer a sense that one is viewing a picture of a field on fire. This is also true of a work called Crossroads, which with its crosshatching adds a feeling to it. Throughout Boo's work the sensation of swift movement is all, as if the artist were in the grip of some inner emotional turmoil. A series of untitled pieces have a certain tight calligraphic effect to them as if the strokes are forming characters (and there are some definite characters visible), but it is mostly writing that suggests a personal shorthand. Direction, too, has this feeling of writing characters in shorthand. It is this feeling which gives them their deeply personal nature. One would hope that Boo might consider exploring the abstract nature of calligraphy in future work. The use of calligraphy by Chinese artists in painting, though eminently satisfying in itself, could be further expanded into powerful abstract. Being I was the most outstanding work in the show. On a background of squares Boo's technique s expanded, the short brushstrokes have a way of giving life to the surface and the grid gives it depth. Love Letters, rust red, though an interesting work, seemed incomplete, as if the artist was uncertain about his direction in the work.

 Ian Findlay, ASIAN ART NEWS, Vol. 6 Number 3 May/June 1996.

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