The Armenian
30 Nov, 2006 - 10 Feb, 2007

Painter, Simon Birch, explodes into a new wave of figurative painting with his show entitled The Armenian at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery Annex

NOVEMBER 30 2006-FEBRUARY 10, 2007—HONG KONG—Simon Birch’s new works, entitled “The Armenian” invites the viewers into the question of identity within an international multicultural world.  Birch is of Armenian dissent, born in England and lives and works in Hong Kong.  Like many of us, who are we in this trans-cultural pandemic?  How do we keep pride in our roots and yet establish ourselves in societies that we are just simply attracted to.  How does one both look back and forward at the same time?

Simon Birch plays with this idea of identity in his explosive new works of gangsters and ballerinas.  He takes the beauty and the beast figures, which are painted with such a surge of energy that the figures feel like they are about to fly off the canvasses.  He chooses Asian figures because this expresses his current contemporary world yet he hides in the tattoos of the triad figures he paints references to his Armenian heritage. “The core point was that [sic] Armenia had such a violent history, dramatic historical transitions, and produced a huge displaced population that reinvented themselves worldwide.”

Violence prevails in his new works but at looking at the violent nature of the works one finds a certain beauty and power. The gangsters, covered in tattoos and dressed in grunge, feel serene and content in their portrayals.  The ballerinas, on the contrary, represent angst, frustration and an almost electrical disturbance.

Simon’s new works resonate a new energy as he dives further into figurative painting.  He keeps to his recognizable focus on the figure itself with plain backgrounds, however, his brush and palette knife feels looser but at the same time edgier than his former paintings.  He uses his Asian subjects to help us identify as well with contemporary culture—both street culture and performing arts.