2007 - 2008 Hong Kong
Terry Batt first visited Hong Kong in 1997, setting in train a long-standing personal and professional association with East Asia. His experiences in East Asia manifest in his art in several ways. The multi-faceted stimuli of Hong Kong and Chinese culture is often infused in his work. Personal contact made with a generation of young and emerging artists through his teaching posts led to the invigoration of his painting and sculpture. Also, Batt is keenly aware of the differences between the East and his own cultural background and concerned with how these differences play out in the realm of art.
Dim sum, 2007, once again reveals the precarious position of the artist as he balances his life and work. The artist sits with a paper bag beaked-mask covering his head (and his identity) and sits on the precipice of a pair of chopsticks that are impossibly balanced on a traditionally decorated Chinese bowl. One cannot tell whether this is a metaphor for the artist’s career or alludes more specifically to the difficulties and cultural sensitivities involved in making one’s way in Hong Kong.
An important additional layer of meaning is provided by Batt himself: ‘The work started from a conversation between myself and Kevin White, a ceramicist and close friend, when we were putting on a show of my paintings and his ceramics with a selected group of our past students. [It] started us off with a discussion about the two mediums and which was the “purest” of the art forms … Kevin strongly argued that there are a lot of ceramicists who are good painters which prompted me to start looking at Chinese ceramics and the intricacies of their painted designs.’
Dim sum, 2007
oil & wax on linen
110 x 110 cm