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Asia Week

Chinese Contemporary Art, featuring etchings by Wang Huaiqing | March 13 – April 26th

By Asia Week NY, Wang Huaiqing
Chinese Contemporary Art, featuring etchings by Wang Huaiqing

March 13 – April 26
For Immediate Release

Wang Huaiqing, (born Beijing, 1944), arguably the finest living painter in China today, recently completed several series of etchings based on his larger scale oils.  The exhibition showcases his newest etchings, printed in Barcelona under his supervision.  Wang silhouettes everyday objects and animates them in space.  The bold figurative elements are shorthand versions of Chinese classical furniture, archaic bronzes and porcelain vases.  Flat black shapes are placed against the void, much like Matisse cutouts; but there is no mistaking their Chinese origins. Wang’s genius is in his playful animation of two dimensions and the allegorical inference of Chinese traditional objects.

In 1956, Wang passed the entry examination to study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) High School in Beijing but his schooling was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution.  He and his CAFA classmates were sent to the countryside to work for subsistence farmers in northwest China. Wang does not dwell on this period with regret.  In his indomitable optimism, Wang commented, ”We were young and eager to experience life. In spite of the difficult living conditions, I gained a deep appreciation for Nature and the traditions of Chinese agrarian society.  I feel lucky to have had such an immersion during the formative stages of my artistic development.” During this period, Wang designed numerous political posters, many of which were included in an exhibition at the Asia Society in New York in 2008.  The Soviet-realist-based style in these earlier works foretells the graphic genius in Wang’s mature work.

Finally admitted to the graduate program at CAFA in 1979, Wang painted with oil on canvas in a realistic Western style full of allegorical meaning.  As part of an emerging group of talented artists, “The Contemporaries,” Wang sought beauty and art in the everyday.  In the mid-1980’s Wang branched out stylistically and garnered numerous national painting awards.

Around that time, Wang was profoundly influenced by a sketching trip to eastern China, in the region around Shaoxing where the traditional architecture is dominated by white washed stucco walls and black tile roofs.  Wang was struck by the juxtaposition of the simple black and white buildings, and the intrinsic “Chinese-ness” of the shapes. His painting palette became heavily dependent on black, white and grey in the 1980’s, echoing the interplay between form and negative space in Chinese calligraphy.

The bold, black forms in this current exhibition may remind a Western viewer of Matisse’ “Jazz Suite.”  In the two “Families” series on view, Wang arranged soot-black shapes against the bare paper, based on silhouettes of archaic bronze tripods, vases and bowls to create bold, near-abstract compositions.  The connecting drips of the printing ink recall Chinese calligraphy cursive script. Wang introduced bold color in his work from time to time, such as the cinnabar red of the background of “Peace.” Wang was not only influenced by Chan Buddhist ideas of space and void, but after travelling to the United States, he was deeply impressed by Minimalist artists such as Giorgio Morandi and Sol Lewitt.  This exhibition reveals the full expressive powers of this Chinese master.

M. Sutherland Fine Arts is pleased to present these prints, along with selected works by other artists represented by the gallery for AsiaWeek March 2019.    The exhibition will continue after AsiaWeek (ends March 23) by appointment only until April 26.

Chinese Contemporary Art, featuring etchings by Wang Huaiqing

March 13 – April 26, by appointment

Asia Week Opening Reception Thursday, March 14, 6–8 pm

Asia Week Hours
March 13–23rd,  11am – 5pm daily

 

EXHIBITION PAGE

 

[image] Wang Huaiqing, “Peace”, Etching on rag paper, 2012, 45 x 22.75 inches

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

By Announcement, Asia Week NY, Huang I-Ming, openings, Press

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

 

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“Vistas in Ink”

By Press

1stDibs’ online magazine ‘Introspective’ has a very nice outline of Chinese landscape works on paper being offered in next week’s Asia Week, New York, with a few nice mentions about us and illustrates a few works that will be on view at M. Sutherland Fine Arts for our “Contemporary Ink” exhibition opening next week!

Have a look at: “Vistas in Ink”

Thanks to Wendy Moonan and all at 1stDibs for the excellent work.

 

CONTEMPORARY INK – Asia Week, New York 2015

By Press

CONTEMPORARY INK – Asia Week, New York, March 13-22

For Immediate Release

While gathering together works for the Asia Week 2015 show, we wanted to define the meaning of “Contemporary Ink” in a way that would appeal not only to lovers of classical painting but also to fans of international contemporary art.  We have pulled together several examples from eight different artists, all of whom use traditional paper and brush, ink and water-based colors.  Contemporary ink encompasses a vast range of styles from the tea-stain Zen “enso” images of Liang Quan, to the opaque tempura lotuses of Shi Ze. What is so fascinating about ink painting today is the mélange of international and historical influences that are manifested in so many different ways at the same time.  No longer are artists confined to a single style and subject matter nor are they expected to only study past Chinese masters for inspiration.   All of the artists in the gallery, however, have mastered handling of the brush and control of ink and color on paper as a common denominator.

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Hsu Kuo-huang, “The Pen Follows Where the Mind Wanders, No. 4” (detail), 2013, Ink on Xuan paper, mounted as hanging scroll

 

The paintings of Hsu Kuo-huang, who was steeped in connoisseurship of Chinese painting while working for decades at the Palace Museum in Taipei, have the deepest roots in classical painting because of this unique and profound exposure to masterworks of all periods.  In his retirement from government service, just as scholar painters in past generations, Hsu has concentrated solely on painting and has drawn inspiration from his immediate surroundings in Eastern Taiwan, most especially the Taroko Gorge.  In the past decade, Hsu has taken a leap into a more abstract, confident style, the results of which can be seen in pieces such as “The Pen follows Where the Mind Wanders.”

Huang Iming, a calligraphy artist, retired from government at a very young age, and has devoted the last 30 plus years to his art.  A fellowship at the Central Art Academy in Beijing several years ago opened Huang’s eyes to the vital contemporary art scene in Beijing and also made him realize how fortunate he was to be educated and exposed to classical traditions from his youth in Taiwan.  Because of his uninterrupted calligraphy discipline, Huang has a tremendous breath of styles from seal script to clerical script to wild cursive. Huang has developed a following internationally and particularly with a younger generation of calligraphy aficionado’s in China, evidenced by numerous solo shows in Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai in recent years.

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Hsai I-fu, “Green Mountains”,1999, Ink and color on Xuan paper, 68 x 91cm
 

Hsia Ifu, who is approaching his 90th birthday this year, is a quiet, thoughtful man of extraordinarily precise, consistent brush technique.  As his good friend, and my former professor, the late Chu Tsing Li wrote, “Hsia does not perform; rather after much reflection, he slowly uses brush and ink to express himself…Hsia has his own point of view and uses all of his energy to work slowly and carefully to express it.” His unique style of dry brush and scorched ink are equally successful in intimate album leaves or large scale hanging scrolls; both formats are on view in our Asia Week show.

Jia Youfu, perhaps the best-known artist in the show, is a recluse who lives much like Hsia Ifu but in Beijing.  Jia, now fully retired from the Central Art Academy, paints for his own pleasure as much as for livelihood.  His “puddled ink and color wash” technique depicts pastoral scenes that border on the abstract.  Jia is one of the few artists still alive that has been faked and sold during his lifetime.  The “Landscape, Untitled” in the exhibition, obtained directly from the artist by Sutherland, is an unusual piece due to the pale coloration and silhouette of bridge and hills in the lower half of the composition.

Zhu Daoping, also a retired professor of classical Chinese painting, uses a pointillist-like technique with his brush for evoking landscape and atmospheric effects.  Zhu hails from Nanjing but he paints from sketches from regions all throughout China.  The scroll, “ Sunset View,” was based on sketches Zhu did on a trip with students to Inner Mongolia; the rendering of the mountains, however, are eerily similar to mountains found in Han tomb paintings that have been excavated in recent decades.   The combination of influences in the painting make it thoroughly modern; no Chinese ink painters in the past would have taken the step to combine such disparate imagery and make it uniquely their own.

Fung Ming Chip, a calligrapher now living in Hong Kong, is the mastermind behind a variety of “invented” script styles.  Ming first mastered the art of seal carving and then turned his attention to calligraphy.  Ming brushes the same set of poems over and over until he is satisfied with the outcome of his efforts.   The works in the gallery represent the pinnacle of creative achievement.  An excerpt of a Buddhist Sutra was recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was shown in the recent “Ink” show in 2013-2014.  The gallery is privileged to also have a version of the same sutra on display.

Shi Ze, the lotus painter, was a student of Jia Youfu, the master of splashed ink in Beijing.  Shi Ze has taken his own path, however.  As a devout Buddhist, he views his paintings as meditations and offerings of thanks for granting him the ability to create.   His recent works, seen in the rear gallery, depict lotuses in traditional and Tibetan thanka paint. The results are technicolor jewels that take one’s breath away.

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Liang Quan, “Tea Stain, Number 3”, 2008, tea stain and mixed media on Xuan paper, 90 x 120 cm
 

Finally, Liang Quan, a classically trained painter in the Hangzhou Art Academy, has lived and taught in Shenzhen for the past few decades.  Liang studied overseas in the U.S. and Europe and developed a singular style pushing the limits of ink and paper media.  Liang uses strips of paper, dipped in ink or tea and pastes them onto a base paper sheet using traditional mounting paste.  The collages are completely international in tone; only the materials and the maker are recognizable as Chinese.  The effect defies any link to one’s preconceived ideas of Chinese ink painting.  The same goes for Liang’s Zen expressions in his tea-stain series.  By piling up loose tea leaves on a gridded paper, Liang allows the absorption of various types of tea and length of absorption to create circles of pale, blush residual color.  The act of creating the tea stain is akin to brushing enso circles to “harmonize one’s mind” in Zen or Chan practice.

 

M. Sutherland Fine Arts will be open for Asia Week 2015 March 13-21.  The exhibition may be viewed by appointment thereafter until May 2.

 

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CONTEMPORARY INK – Asia Week New York, March 13-22

M. Sutherland Fine Arts
55 East 80th Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10075
hours:

Open House Weekend, March 14-15
Sat – Sun 11am-5 pm

Weekday Hours, March 16-22
Mon-Sat 12pm-5pm

(otherwise by appointment)

 

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Hsu Kuo-huang, “A Glimpse of Wenshan Hot Spring”, 2012, Ink on Xuan paper, 27.15 x 53.15 in