The Mountain where Whales once Lived

9 October - 14 November 2010

UNION is pleased to announce The Mountain where Whales once Lived a group exhibition with artists Eemyun Kang, Alisa Margolis, Dolly Thompsett and Suling Wang. The title of this exhibition makes reference to petroglyths discovered in 1971- depictions of large whales etched into megalithic rocks found in a remote area of forest encircled by mountains near the East Sea. These ancient mythological or historical narratives, scenes of cetacean creatures and fishermen appearing and disappearing in and out of mountain faces perhaps say something about the enduring significance and timelessness of figurative mark making and painting. The paintings in UNION’s exhibition present a field of transmuting landscapes, preternatural colour, semi abstract and semi figurative forms – a suggestion of other times and other(worldly) places. Eemyun Kang, Alisa Margolis, Dolly Thompsett and Suling Wang have never shown together prior to this exhibition and will meet together for the first time for ‘The Mountain where Whales once Lived’ at UNION. Important to the exhibition’s concept is the idea that the artists should come together through a process of approbation and invitation. Dolly Thompsett has invited Suling Wang and Eemyun Kang has selected Alisa Margolis - each admirers of the other’s work.

Eemyun Kang (b.1981 Pusan, Korea) Lives and works in London. Kang studied Fine Art at The Slade School, London and The Royal Academy of Arts, London. She has recently had a solo exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery, New York 2010 and group exhibition at Vegas Gallery, London 2010 and Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul Arts Centre, Korea 2009. Personal narratives based on nature and mythology are a central theme in Kang’s painting. Her imaginary hybrid world of sensual and fluid mark-making in turn invites the viewer to form their own narrative – the incompleteness of her canvas charting nature's ongoing possibilities of change and transformation. Her current painting presented with UNION ‘The Mountain where Whales once Lived’ is based on the prehistoric site in southern part of Korea, Ulsan, where she spent her childhood.

Alisa Margolis (b. 1975 Kiev, Ukraine) Lives and works in Berlin. Margolis studied at Columbia University, NY and De Ateliers International Artists' Institute, Amsterdam. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Galerie Wilma Tolksdorf, Frankfurt, 2009 and Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam 2008. Group exhibitions include Walker Evans and the Barn, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Painting Codes, Galleria Comunale d'Arte Contemporanea di Monfalcone, Italy; The Triumph of Painting, Saatchi Gallery, London. Her work can be seen presently in the UCLA Wight Biennial in Los Angeles. In Margolis work, spontaneous mark making and action painting like spills of paint are counter-posed with classical and baroque references to vanitas and 17th century flower painting, NASA space imagery, arena rock concert and cinematic special effects: a meditation on the contemporary experience of the sublime. The work You Are One of A Thousand (Forest Nude 3) is one of a series, a larger project that culminated in an installation of paintings in the forest of Baden Württemberg, the former pleasure gardens of one of the last absolute Monarchs of Europe. A publication documenting this work is forthcoming in 2011.

Dolly Thompsett (b.1969, London) Lives and works in London. Thompsett trained at Byam Shaw MA Fine Art, 2000 and Goldsmiths College PhD Fine Art, 2004. She has had recent solo shows at Ritter/Zamet 2009 and Fred 2007 and is currently showing at ArtSway, a public gallery in the New Forest. Group exhibitions include The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009, Golden Record, Aspex (touring) 2009 and Salon Nouveau Engholm Englehorn, Vienna 2007. Dolly Thompsett’s paintings are built up layers of paint interspersed with glossy resin laminates allowing images to radiate through the sleek surfaces of her work. Dark voids and phosphorescent sweeps allude to both Hollywood special effects and traditional romantic painting. Thompsett uses photographs as a starting point for her paintings, often of events where ordinary people are overcome by extraordinary circumstances.

Suling Wang (b.1968, Taiwan) Lives and works in London. She studied painting at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design and The Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited internationally including exhibitions at The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2007 and The National Gallery, London, 2006. She also has work in permanent collections including the MOCA, Los Angeles and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. She is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Suling Wangs paintings are influenced by the changing natural landscape and accelerated urbanisation of her native Taiwan. Characteristic of her paintings are gestural marks, bold strokes of colour and curvilinear forms flowing in and out of the visual field. Disparate visual elements feature alongside imaginary mountains and submerged islands relaying reality in a continual state of flux or dissolution, fragmenting and then becoming whole.