By LUCY THOMPSON
“Reflection”, a joint exhibition by students of the School of Graphic Design at the State University of Arts and Culture, will be open from 28 April until 4 May at Blue Moon Gallery. The paintings vary in style from the more abstract to realistic depictions of buildings and city scenes, yet the theme of reflection is visible in all works.
Some of the paintings are very introspective and consider humans as organisms, using curving shapes and cellular imagery to explore the relationship between man and nature. For example, “Spring” by O.Uyanga portrays a woman curved in a foetal position cushioned by a layer of blue cells, perhaps representing amniotic fluid. Beyond this are flowers and loose petals which look like teeth, emphasizing the link between humans and nature, an idea reinforced by the use of flower petals for the woman’s eyelashes.
Nature and the female body are also discussed in “The Wholeness” by S.Enuun. Its similarities to Klimt’s “Hope ii”, right down to the woman’s exposed breast and the figures in front of her dress, recall that artist’s themes of pregnancy and new life. However, whereas Klimt’s figure is looking down at a skull on top of her growing belly, in S.Enuun’s painting, the woman is smiling at a flower, which may be intended to draw focus away from the cycle of life and death and towards the wholeness of the natural world.
“The Wholeness” can also be read independently of Klimt; the faces drawn into the dress could reflect the variety of experiences and personae contained within one person.
Other works in the collection also draw on ideas from art history – for instance “Spirit” by D.Ulziibayar seems to draw inspiration from petroglyphs, showing a man on a horse that is almost stick-like in style, echoing ancient primitive art, while the background symbols are arranged in vertical lines like classical Mongolian script. By using such an old style in a modern context, D.Ulziibayar explores how the past reflects on the present.
Another piece which does this to great effect is “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”, in which B.Sukhbold uses figures similar to old Mongolian letters to create a painting resembling layers of graffiti. This overlap of ancient and urban art highlights the strength of modern Mongolia’s link with its history.The diversity of ideas and styles in this exhibition present a wide range of interpretations on the theme ‘reflection’.