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Jitao & Kyle Baker: A Two-Person Exhibition

Lutetia ART-at-TAC April Exhibition

In an age full of selfies and filtered “fast” pictures, how do we find depth in images? How do we engage with what we see? Lutetia ART-at-TAC invites you to consider these questions with our April 2023 exhibition of works by Jitao and Kyle Baker.

Jitao, or Nate Navasca

Nate Navasca, is Filipino-American and grew up in Virginia. He worked as a graphic designer but decided to devote most of his time to art after moving to Taipei in October 2020. Working primarily with portraiture, one of the oldest and most intriguing artistic genres, Jitao’s oil pastel portraits are intricate studies of texture, form and colour. The rich textures and intense colours, which can only be fully appreciated when viewed in person, are an antidote to the smoothed out portraits on screens that inundate contemporary life. Rooted in realism without aiming to be realistic, Jitao’s paintings oscillate carefully between representation and abstraction.

His portraits of strangers capture the likeness of his subjects but with an imagined narrative or emotion. The emotions are suggested by the bold colours and vigorous oil pastel marks, but this process is “much more a work of fiction, rather than trying to portray a moment in time,” said Jitao.

By contrast, when painting self-portraits or portraits of his wife, Jitao paints a moment in his life – the moment when the reference picture was taken, and the moment when the painting is being made. As the subjects remain the same, the changes in mood and the painterly qualities make very interesting comparisons for the viewer as they engage with the paintings.

Kyle Baker

Nashville native Kyle Baker’s works are also rooted in realism, as he captures the “cultural story” of places he visits. Using graphite and charcoal on paper, his drawings depict everyday street scenes (one recalls the kind of transitory and lively scenes seen in Dutch genre painting) packed with details carefully and appreciatively observed.

For this exhibition Baker presents three depictions of everyday life in Asia. Objects and people are semi-cropped out of the considered composition, creating a sense of immediacy and emphasising the artist’s position as an unobtrusive observer, a contemporary flâneur. The drawings not only show careful renderings of light and dark (chiaroscuro), but also present textures beautifully – be it wooden floor, textile or hair. Furthermore, audiences in Taiwan will undoubtedly appreciate small details of Asian life that make the depictions authentic and familiar.

jessica-wang-simula

Jessica Wang Simula was born in Taiwan but has lived in six different countries since adolescence before relocating back to Taiwan with her family over three years ago. Having worked in the arts in Shanghai and London, she is interested in how the arts can start new conversations, build communities and connect people.

Lutetia ART-at-TAC April Exhibition
April 7 – May 1, 2023
Jitao & Kyle Baker: A Two-Person Exhibition

 

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