Endearment • Lilia Lao

Jun 11 to Jul 7, 2021 • Upstairs Gallery

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