Reflecting Time Passing, Chris Oh Reinterprets Works of the Northern Renaissance on Ephemeral Substrates

Shortly after the Renaissance swept through Italy in the 14th century, the Northern Renaissance began to take hold north of the Alps. In countries like Germany, France, Poland, and England, artists turned their attention toward humanism like their counterparts in Rome and Florence, although piety and the everyday trials of poor people dominated the north, while the wealthy and ruling classes featured more prominently in Italy.

In a new body of work on view at Capsule Shanghai, artist Chris Oh draws on this tradition through a series of paintings that consider how stories, knowledge, and information are shared through generations. Titled Passage, the exhibition features a range of found-object sculptures and wall-based works appropriated from primarily Northern Renaissance-era artists like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, and Jan van Eyck, to name a few.

Oh often paints the likeness of the paintings from the period on natural substrates like gnarled slices of burl wood and pearlescent oyster shells, nesting the familiar scenes and portraits within organic surfaces. “I want to use materials that grew over time,” he says.

Featured image: “Burl” (2021), acrylic on antique wooden burl slab, 53.34 x 76.2 x 5.08 centimeters

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