some things we call home

The recreation of sensuous surface has long been the allure and conceit of painting. In some things we call home, Go continues her long-standing interest with paper and the interplay of the two-dimensional vis-a-vis space and mass. In these paintings, fragmented scraps-- with their splattering of pattern and texture-- bulge with volume and heft. Folds and tears signal depth and form. An unseen object serves as scaffolding, akin to bones and organs stretching out papery skin. The experiential hints at an interiority.

Inside these packages, Go makes use of toys, reminiscent of her own family and childhood, as references. But in a reversal of gift-giving celebrations where newly bought things emerge from shiny gift wrappers, here, the objects gathered are burdened with memory. Enclosed in seemingly brittle and aged paper, they evoke nostalgic longing. And occluded from view, we regard them in a strange light. In effect the artist is staging a re-encounter, as if from within the creases a toy can tumble out reborn. As if she can offer these old things anew.


Partly a response to the vicissitudes of current times, partly a remembering, her works signal towards the accretion of loss and the rituals of coping. And perhaps, it also gestures to a certain promise. That soon enough, through disparate shapes and ways, the weight of the past can also coalesce into forms of gratitude.


- JC Rosette



Through her persistent dedication to art making, Lilia Lao has gently captured the texture and atmosphere that surround her everyday life. Her affectionate attention finds irreplaceable and unrepeatable expressions in the mundane. 


Lao's long-awaited solo exhibition comprises a selection of the paintings made between 2012 and 2021. As the artist describes the subjects in the exhibition: "the objects and environments that inspire me all over again," the assembly of the works here present a series of renewed discoveries through the artist's experimentation and self-reflection over the passage of time. 


The word, inspire has its root in the Latin inspirare, meaning to breathe. The brush moves as the artist breathes, grasping the presence of air circulating in-between her and her subjects. In a tranquil encounter with her subject, the artist receives energy to inhale and exhale. Lao's artworks remind us of the preciousness of each breath that enables our lives. 


The word spirit stems from the same root word as inspire. Breathing enlivens the spirit within us. Listening to the natural rhythm of breathing is an exercise to reconnect with our self and with the world around us. It is a practice to find eternity in each moment. In this exhibition, Lao invites us to immerse ourselves in the meditative process of her art making, where she recognizes preciousness and beauty right in front of her. We are reminded that the spiritual dimension of art and life does not lie anywhere afar but here within us.  


Mayumi Hirano