In a world inclined to conjecture, Hong Kong-based Sri Lankan portrait artist Kos Cos offers a thought-provoking new body of work that challenges us to consider how the introduction of a single and simple new element – a circle – can alter our perception of the subject. The addition of the circles to the artist’s signature layered abstract portraits that employ a vivid palette and dynamic rapid gestural brush strokes, invites a new dimension of interpretation.
The circle is a universal symbol with numerous symbolic undertones: unity, infinity, the sun and moon, the sacred etc. In these works, Kos Cos tries to break established views by contrasting halo-like circles that suggest a sense of ‘virtue’ with other elements such as bared bodies that confront notions of piety. Thus in these paintings, circles have no prescribed meaning other than being mere shapes or props.
The title, An Incomplete Totality, echoes humanity’s endless quest of sense-making; the restless and incessant pursuit of a complete truth derived from limited bodies of evidence. The portraits are disordered and obscured, form and context often merging, with only the circle resolutely holding the subject in place.
The subjects freed of form but pinned down by a circle provoke a powerful conflict of opposing sentiments and extend the concept of portraiture. by divesting the circular form of all symbolism and meaning and freeing form from restrictive enclosures, An Incomplete Totality asks us to question the validity of our own judgment.