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Jo Chew

My work typically engages with ideas of human precariousness, particularly in relation to the notion of home as something potentially fragile, unsettled, or fragmentary. Seeing existential (and actual) homelessness as a condition of contemporary life with unprecedented mobility and mass migration and displacement, my paintings employ levels of incompletion, representing provisionality and contingency in methodology as well as subject. But rejecting hopelessness, a tenacity and optimism is often signalled through colour and playfulness.

Bough House

As with most of my work, the composition for Bough House is based on a hand-made collage. For this painting the collage comes from one picture – a found image of children playing on a temporary treehouse constructed of interlocking plastic poles. The image is taken apart, altered, and pieced back together – in an enforced exile and homecoming. A central circle is weighted with colour and saturation and the surrounding frame reduced to sketchily rendered greyscale over a soft lilac foundation. Both the title of the work and the composition – which relies heavily on balanced shapes and colour – nod directly to the Bauhaus movement and its optimism and desire to integrate art with how and where we live.