Best known for his Instagram account filled with curated funny animal pictures, Andrew Kuo is more than just a social media maestro. He is also a talented painter represented by the prestigious Marlborough Chelsea gallery, where his solo show No To Self, comprised of exacting geometric paintings, is currently on view.
No to Self recalls the geometric abstractions of artists like Frank Stella and Ilya Bolotowsky, but Kuo emphatically asserts that the paintings are not abstract, but meticulously intentional, guided by a series of map-like legends at the bottom of the works. “The paintings are dictated by the rules that are at the bottom of the paintings. They provide the key that tells me what to do,” Kuo tells The Creators Project.
The legends effectively transform the artist’s brushstrokes into representations of a diverse array of feelings and questions that are entirely different depending on where they are located in the work. In Cues (9/23/16), pink marks in the left-hand quadrant of the work embody the question, “Is haunting our enemies frowned upon?” while marks of the same color in the right-hand portion of the canvas ask, “Could our parents be pre-parental versions of themselves?” The sets of inquiries and explorations are different in each work, falling under varying groupings, expressing human musings like Things I’d Love to Know and What I’m Actually Saying When I’m Saying.
Even the geometric shapes on the canvas have philosophical implications. Reminiscent of the jumping stack of cards animation that plays after winning a game of Solitaire on Windows 2000, the forms emphasize “the ongoing battle between empiricists and those who depend on instinct,” according to the exhibition press release.
“The ‘deck of cards’ was an inspiration in that it represents the idea of luck, or the opposite of empirical thinking,” Kuo elaborates further. “But there’s also a way to count a deck where it takes away chance for the space of probability. Luck definitely exists, but it can also be normalized through repetition and sample size. I like that idea.”