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M. Sutherland Fine Art

NYT and Huang I-Ming show for Asia Week preview

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Will Heinrich mentions our Huang I-Ming exhibition in NYT’s Asia Week preview… Asia Week’s Rare and Unusual Objects for Art Lovers and Collectors

A show of abstract ink drawings by the contemporary Taiwanese calligrapher Huang I-Ming at M. Sutherland Fine Arts vividly demonstrates at large scale the unlimited textural and tonal possibilities of black ink on white paper. 7 East 74th Street, 3 fl.; 212-249-0428; msutherland.com.

2014, ink on paper, 98 x 92cm

Huang I-Ming: New Ink opens

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Please join us for our Huang I-Ming exhibition which opens today and runs through May 5th, by appointment. The gallery will be open regular hours during Asia Week New York, from 11am–5pm daily.

Our Opening Reception will be tomorrow evening, Friday the 16th, and we hope that you’ll drop by to celebrate with us and see this incredible selection of works on paper.


Huang I-Ming New Ink
March 15 – May 5, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, March 16, 6–8pm

Asia Week Hours
March 15–24th, 11am – 5pm daily

M. Sutherland Fine Arts
7 East 74th Street, 3rd Floor

by Appointment

2014, in on paper, 106 x 92 cm

HUANG I-MING: New Ink will open for Asia Week NY, March 15 through May 5th

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HUANG I-MING : NEW INK, March 15 – May 5, 2018

For Immediate Release

Huang I-ming (b.1952, I-lan, Taiwan) is an accomplished Chinese calligrapher based in Taiwan who also has taught and exhibited extensively in the PRC. Huang has practiced calligraphy his entire life, ever since he could hold a brush as a small child. Much like in the Ming and Qing Dynasties when scholar artists were first court officials and then retired to lives of creative contemplation, Huang, after a short political career, turned to practicing and teaching calligraphy full-time. Few modern calligraphers have full mastery of all script forms, but Huang is an outstanding exception. Huang’s oeuvre includes all calligraphic scripts, from Ancient Seal Script to Han Clerical Script, Regular, Running and Cursive scripts. Teaching at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, Huang absorbed the creative excitement and vigor of the art scene there. He came away with renewed enthusiasm for a “modern” calligraphic style.

For many years, calligraphy art has been my life. I have used every ounce of my being to create these lines. All the changes in these lines are produced with feelings and emotions. My frame of mind has evidently affected their creation, and they have, in return, brought me into a new realization and awareness of what is happening to the different environments, matters, and things surrounding me. This is a process of incessant cause and effect evolution………These lines have already become my entirety.

Huang further explains that a piece of Chinese calligraphy has two levels of meaning: wen yi and shu yi. The classical styles of Chinese calligraphy, according to traditional canons, have both wen yi, the literal meaning of the image in Chinese, and shu yi, the expressive content of the brushwork that expresses the feelings of the calligrapher. Some art theorists regard wen yi as the “narrative” aesthetic in contrast with shu yi, the “lyric” aesthetic of calligraphy. Just as musicians interpret a musical score, so calligraphers celebrate the execution of the characters. Huang defines this dualism in modern calligraphy as “classical linearity.”

What happens when wen yi becomes irrelevant to the creative act? The link between an actual symbol or word and brushwork is divorced and shu yi, “lyric aesthetic” becomes paramount. Huang credits the Japanese post –WWII calligrapher, Teshima Yukei of the Shosho group or “Shao Zi Pai” (or “Few Character Group), with promoting the first theoretical basis for separating wen yi from shu yi. To convey the utter despair and ruin of Japan in the late 1940’s and 1950s, Teshima believed that he could only do so by deconstructing and re-forming the written symbols of calligraphy. The resulting works allowed people who cannot read Chinese/Japanese kanji to grasp the intended wen yi or meaning of his visual perception. Inspired by this theoretical basis, Huang forged a new creative path, one where shu yi (expressive/lyrical nature of the brush) is transcendent, without specific reference to written language. Huang describes his new work as “abstract expressionism with classical linearity” and is quick to remind that his works are not paintings per se, as the brushwork is firmly rooted in the framework of calligraphy brush traditions separate from classical ink painting. Further, Huang also gives credit to the influence of Western art on his style, specifically from the Abstract Expressionist painters of the second half of the 20th Century.

The current exhibition will feature Huang’s breadth of style, from unwavering perfection of his small running script in “Autumn Stillness,’ to the mesmerizing abstraction, ”The Changes of Mother Earth.” The show will open for Asia Week (March 15- 24, 2018) and then continue through May 5 by appointment. This is the third exhibition of Huang’s works at M. Sutherland Fine Arts.


HUANG I-MING : NEW INK – March 15 – May 5, by appointment

Asia Week Opening Reception Friday, March 16th, 6-8pm

Asia Week Hours
March 15–24th, 11am – 5pm daily

M. Sutherland Fine Arts
7 E 74th Street, Third Floor, New York, NY
Tel. 212-249-0428 | Cel. 301-529-2531


[At Top] – Huang I-Ming, Resplendence, 2014, ink on paper 106 x 92cm




Hai Tao’s “Look Forward to Peace”

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We were asked to do a video pan across Hai Tao’s “Look Forward to Peace” hand scroll from 2012.  His delicate beats and anthropomorphic arches can be difficult to capture in jpg let alone the issue of capturing something as monumentally long and narrow as a hand scroll.

Hai Tao
Look Forward to Peace
ink on rice paper, hand scroll
12 x 97 1/2 inches

Hsia I-Fu, A Life in Ink (1925-2016) Opening and Catalog

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Our Hsia I-Fu memorial exhibition opens this evening, if you’re in New York please stop by M. Sutherland Fine Arts between 6–8pm and join us in celebrating the life and work of this magnificent artist.

A fully illustrated exhibition catalog is available to view here in pdf:  Hsia I-Fu, A Life in Ink

The show will be up through November 17th, by appointment.

For further on the Exhibition: Hsia I-Fu, A Life in Ink


HSIA I-FU, A Life in Ink (1925–2016)

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Hsia I-Fu: A Life in Ink (1925–2016)

September 28 – November 17, 2017


For Immediate Release —

On the first anniversary of the death of Hsia I-Fu (1925-2016), M. Sutherland Fine Arts has organized a retrospective show of paintings from the last 25 years of this masterful artist’s life.

Martha Sutherland met Hsia in Taiwan in the late 1990s through her graduate school professor, Chu Tsing Li. Although he had never traveled to the United States, the artist immediately welcomed the Mandarin-speaking gallerist and agreed to representation in the U.S. Opportunities for international recognition as a Chinese artist living in Taiwan were rare at the end of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, Hsia’s works can now be found in dozens of major collections in the United States, from teaching museums at Cornell, Princeton and Harvard, to museums and private collections across the Untied States.

Hsia was born in Shandong Province in the 1925 to an educated family . As a youth, he received private painting instruction in both bird and flower and landscape traditions. Even in his later years Hsia would laugh and remark that he owed his exacting, almost obsessionist painting style to the influence of his grandmother, an accomplished lacemaker. Hsia passed the strenuous qualifying exams to enter the prestigious Hangzhou Art Academy in 1947 but because of the political turbulence, he was forced to withdraw. In 1949, he escaped to Taiwan and started from scratch to build a new life in Taipei. He worked in advertising, photography, graphic design, and interior architecture until the late 1970s when he turned to painting full time.

Hsia’s paintings harken back to the monumental landscapes of the Sung masters, such as Li Cheng and Xu Daoning. Yet on careful examination, his brushwork and inkwash style reveal a clearly contemporary vision. His unique brush technique demands thousands of minute strokes over the course of days, and sometimes weeks, to construct massive, weighty rocks and mist-wrapped mountains. The rock forms have a sensuous, anthropomorphic quality with a high contrast of light and dark, more closely aligned to a Western concept of light and shadow. Hsia once remarked that he studied the masterworks of Nanjing 17th Century eccentric master, Gong Xian, in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. He tried to capture the essence of Gong is his own miniature landscapes and smaller album leaves, then moved up to table top and grand scale works. Hsia’s dense brushwork, whether in a monumental hanging scroll or a miniature album leaf, is unmatched by contemporary ink painters. Around 2007, Hsia turned to a new brush vocabulary of repetitive fine lines for grasses as a counterpoint to the weighty rocks.
Hsia never lost his delight in the natural world, especially the mountains and seascapes of his adopted home of Taiwan. He hiked in the mountains well into his eighties, making rough sketches to enlarge and embellish back in his studio. He and his wife were devout Buddhists who supported religious charities by donating their time and proceeds from painting sales.

A year before the artist’s death, Sutherland ventured to the port city of Keelung with Hsia and several other painters to see a contemporary painting exhibition. Although it was July and the heat and humidity were stifling, Hsia bounded up the stairs of the parking garage with joyful enthusiasm. Even at 90 years of age, Hsia had an infectious joie de vivre. His daughter, Summer Hsia, remembers that her father told the family several days before he died that he wasn’t leaving them forever—that he was simply “going traveling” and would be reunited with them someday soon. Each painting in this exhibition offers a glimpse of Hsia’s indomitable spirit.

[At top, DETAIL – Hsia I-Fu, “Taiwan Mountains”, 1999, Ink on Xuan paper, 69 x 98cm]

2016, Ink and color wash on paper, mounted as hanging scroll, 53.15 x 27.15 inches

‘Guo Hua’ is Go!

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Our opening weekend and reception for “Guo Hua: Defining Contemporary Chinese Painting” have been a rousing success!  If you’re out braving the historic ‘Light-Dusting 2017’ of our current winter storm, please drop by the gallery today until 5pm and through the final weekend where the gallery will be open from 11am –5pm for viewing.

We’d like to thank both The China Press and Artfix daily for their support for the show and mentions specifically on the new Hsu Kuohuang paintings.