Night Gallery is proud to present Crust, an exhibition of new paintings by Han Bing. This is the artist’s third solo show with the gallery.
Han Bing’s works are painted navigations, reconfiguring signifiers of disorder in a gradual evolution towards abstraction. Her practice is informed by her observations of city life in Shanghai, Los Angeles, New York, and most recently Paris, taking “urban camouflage” as primary source material—particularly the ripped posters that cover subway stations and metro stops. The ensuing paintings explore what is held and concealed within these fields of fragmentation, and it is from their disruptions, deformations, and errors that Han Bing’s distinctive visual language takes form.
The face of a wound, the veneer of the Earth—the “crust” is what meets the eye first, both protective and susceptible to peeling, cracking, and disintegration. For Han Bing, the word evokes the transient nature of imagery and information, as well as the juxtaposition between the immediacy of the picture plane and the layers of covert meaning beneath any given surface. Crust takes interest in the profound dimensions of the mundane, as Han Bing distills moments of relief amidst constant overstimulation.
Drawing from a range of reference points, including set design, analog recordings, and literature, Han Bing allows the dynamics of the work to direct the composition. Within this atmosphere of unpredictability, disparate pieces connect in a moment of clarity—a poetically natural interplay. In Pre Shangri-La, 2022, frenetic strokes of pastel meet the skewed, fractured iconography of print ads, the tumultuous sense of motion punctuated by vibrant plots of red.
Vis-à-vis, 2023 finds inspiration in a band’s live performance documented on a VHS tape. The fuzzy, mirage-like quality of the stage offers the artist a unique syntax to paint with as she unites seemingly oppositional elements upon the canvas: the architectural and concrete features of the material environment coalesce with the pixelated and flat qualities of the recording. The central heart shape is the most salient impression, recalling the accidental forms created by silhouettes and shifting light. In their intuitiveness and emotional tenor, there is evidence of the artist’s process in the final works that evade hard edges for the possibility of conveying tension and release.
Though generous and poetically open, Han Bing’s tableaux resist quick association or easy interpretation. Her works reveal that the act of looking does not dictate what “is,” but enacts the first step in an impartation of meaning. Within Crust, we find the emotional weight of this enterprise, a glimpse of understanding, a tear in the fabric.
Han Bing (b. 1986, Shandong, China) holds an MFA from Parsons New School for Design, New York and Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. She has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Marguo, Paris; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and Antenna Space, Shanghai. Her work has been included in group shows at Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris; Andrew Kreps, New York; UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Tilton Gallery, New York; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong; and Tang Contemporary Art Gallery, Bangkok. She has been featured in publications including FLASH ART, Artsy, and LEAP magazine, among others. Han Bing lives and works in Paris.