On 22 February Ivorypress will present the first solo exhibition of Chinese artist Michael Chow (Shanghai, 1939) at the gallery in Madrid.
Several years ago, amorphous accumulations of discarded plastic began to appear in Michael Chow’s paintings. These unruly shapes that seem to have a life of their own are the artist’s representation of the Pacific Vortex. For this exhibition he has harnessed the vocabulary of abstract painting to confront one of the world’s most pressing ecological problems.
The Pacific Vortex, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it is more harshly described, is an immense mass of discarded plastic, chemical sludge, and other debris that covers a vast area of the North Pacific Ocean. It is not visible from satellite photography, so the representation of its form is left to the painter’s imagination. Chow has fused Asian, European, and American approaches to abstract painting to create a resonant image of our environmental crisis.
His paintings are constructed through an assemblage of disparate materials ranging from bags of money, sheets of pure silver and burnt newspapers to raw eggs preserved in resin. The unexpected combinations of objects in his paintings reflect the unique combination of experiences that have shaped the artist’s life.
Chow describes his work as chaos controlled as a representation of the yin yang, half painting, half sculpture and with a certain tendency in the mixture of all elements to be treated as recipe.
Michael Chow studied at Saint Martin’s School of Arts and at the Hammersmith School of Building and Architecture (London, UK) After painting vigorously for the next decade In 1968 he founded his first restaurant, MR CHOW, in Knightsbridge, London, passionately promoting the greatness of China, Michael orchestrates art, architecture, design and cuisine into a participatory theatre.
Recent solo exhibitions include Voice For My Father, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, (2015) and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA (2016); Recipe For a Painter, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong (2014); and Michael Chow a.k.a. Zhou Yinghua, Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York, USA (2014).
His works are in numerous private collections and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.