Maria Kazalia’s ‘Spot’ and ‘Asemic Writing’ paintings are connected to her past and in particular to her travels through Asia. For over four years Kazalia spent time learning the basic logograms of China and Japan as well as Sanskrit while living and working in cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Madras and Taiwan. The simplicity and aesthetic beauty of these characters – especially when seen lit up in neon – on street signs, advertisements, billboards and shops in the busy streets of the East led her to formulate her own pictorial language created by taking logograms and enlarging and abstracting them by combining, reversing, overlapping, filling, fragmenting and distorting them.
These abstractions highlight the global world we live in, the emergence of an aesthetic that is at once East and West. In a world in which consumerism runs riot across our planet so do aesthetic forms, philosophies, pictorial images. In contemporary society the appearance of Chinese or Japanese characters is common, ordinary, ubiquitous, and it is up to the artist to highlight the triumph of art and design, the beauty of difference, of what was once foreign and so exotic. In this Kazali succeeds as she highlights the aesthetic traditions of the East through the artistic tradition of the West. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
A deep taproot extends from my series of spot paintings (2012/13) and Asemic writing paintings (2005-2013), through my art school years and long before adulthood–encompassing language colours and lettering of advertisements in my native English language (viewed since childhood), as well as to Asia, and language and colour influences from my four expatriate years in the countries of Japan, India and China