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   Bess Xueyang Hu
Infatuation, Oil and oil stick on paper, 28.5×38 cm, 2020, $450.jpg

'Infatuation', 2020

Oil and oil stick on paper


Tell us about yourself.

I am Bess Xueyang Hu. I was born in China in 1998. I currently live and work in Melbourne. Talking about my daily routine, I basically go to my studio and start working in the afternoon. After returning home, I might do some pencil drawings, sometimes watch movies and write short stories. I like to stay up late because I feel more peaceful and focused.

Where did your passion for art begin?

My passion mainly comes from the life between imagination and reality. I think that may be closer to some kind of literary motivation even though music sometimes does inspire me. Stories and poems are part of it as they create an inner experience beyond the linguistic symbols. I want to convey that feeling through visual language, and in the process, I can re-enter the experience and immerse myself in it. Surely, painting itself is attractive enough to me.

Bedtime, Oil and oil stick on paper, 29.5×21 cm, 2020, $250.jpg

How would you describe your work to someone?

My main practice is oil painting. Specifically, it is figurative painting about imagination, illusion and dreams. The contents are some vague stories that are always not ready to tell to anyone, in which I am speaking for the imaginary characters and I am also their audience. On the other hand, I have also been trying to paint with different techniques and processes, exploring the possibilities of painting itself as a material. In addition, I occasionally make some sculptures and videos as a kind of extended practice.

'Bedtime', 2020

Oil and oil stick on paper


What are you currently working on?

Recently, I mean to return to small-size paintings again, which are perhaps around 30 × 40 cm, because the small size allows me to concentrate more on the application of textures and brushstrokes. Besides, small works are

more possible to be completed in a short time, so it is easier to grab and present an ephemeral intuition and feeling.

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?

It's somewhere in between. When I dive into a kind of inner experience and try to translate its fragment into a visual language, it always begins with the imagination or the processing of stories. I like to jot down those ideas that flash into my mind with simple and plain pencil lines. They could be some scribbles of inexplicable words or jumbled drawings. However, after everything starts to unfold on canvas, I will use some kind of abstraction, such as different brushstrokes and textures, to make the painting out of my position, my sentiments. Therefore, to a large extent, apart from the initial narrative frame, everything else is improvised.

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

In many ways, it is not just artists. Some film directors and writers also deeply inspired my creation. Sergei Parajanov and Shuji Terayama are so sensitive to the aesthetics of imagery. Their films are full of beautiful symbols with strong mysterious metaphors. Roy Andersson's narrative is ingenious and profound. The reality in his films is so poetic. Surely, there are a lot of artists who I like very much. As a painter, I like Milton Avery’s colours, Andrew Cranston’s textures, Sanya Kantarovsky’s narratives, Peter Doig’s atmospheres and Kai Althoff’s presentations. I can easily be moved by their works.

Mousetrap, Oil and oil stick on paper, 28.5×38 cm, 2020, $350.jpg

'Mousetrap', 2020

Oil and oil stick on paper


What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

Paint more paintings and get prepared for my solo exhibitions in 2022.

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