As one of the leading Chinese photographers of his generation, Shih is internationally recognized for his individual artistic style utilizing vast spaces and dramatic color to create emotionally engaging narratives. The installation will feature a curated selection of large-format prints from the series accompanied by a new monograph.
In Familiars, Quentin Shih explores the complex relationship each of us has with our memories and the need to confront impactful moments in our past, which may or may not lead to truthful representations. Moody, ethereal and sometimes abstract scenes seek to illuminate universal truths through the resuscitated personal history of a highly skilled and sensitive photographic artist. “I believe that photography is not about creation—it’s a process to evoke memory; to refresh something that already exists in our minds; something that is growing weak and abstract and needs to find expression.” Through cinematic lighting and calculated compositions, Shih creates powerfully tranquil figurative moments in the dusk hours.
The cyclical Eastern interpretation of time is significant in understanding Shih’s return to familiar events of the past through contemporary images, even though the artist humbly admits the futility. “We are merely searching amongst reality to try and find an image we once knew […] like a ghost who searches for the previous life he cannot return to.” A phantom source of light softly makes itself present in each work, often in bold red hues imbued with Chinese cultural significance. The saturated, silent dramas often reference the work of Edward Hopper as much as contemporary American camera artists such as Todd Hido, Alex Prager, and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
Quentin Shih (a.k.a Shi Xiaofan, b. 1975, Tianjin, China) is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker based in Beijing, China. Since the early 2000s has held solo exhibitions across China, Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. His works are included in American and European collections including the Danforth Art Museum and the Worcester Art Museum in the U.S., the Christian Dior Collection, Paris, and the Belgium Royal Museum, Brussels.