Asia Week: New York
Open House Weekend Hours: Sat. March 17 & Sun. March 18th 10-6 PM
Asia Week Hours: Mon. March 19 - Sat., March 24 - 10-5PM
The five Chinese landscape artists featured at M. Sutherland Fine Arts during 2012 Asia Week are all masters of guo hua -- ink and color wash painting on paper. Zhu Daoping and Hsia I-fu hark back to traditional landscape themes but with a modern twist. Hsu Kuo-huang uses a unique mix of ancient brush styles, and includes long calligraphic inscriptions based on archaic poetry. Jia Youfu and Liang Quan, stretch the definition of guo-hua to its furthest limits, verging on abstraction.
Zhu Daoping’s pays homage to the early Qing Dynasty individualist, Shi Tao, presenting landscapes washed in warm color with ambiguous compositional structure and dancing “dian” (ink dots). Zhu takes the brushwork and color of Shi Tao and amps it up. Mountain peaks vibrate in a lacelike veil of brushwork over pastel color washes. Here traditional ink painting embraces the pointilliste virtuosity of a Seurat landscape.
Hsu Kuo-huang is perhaps the most “traditional” of the group. Residing in Taiwan and working at the National Palace Museum, he has been studying the imperial collections first hand since his youth. Because of this unique exposure, Hsu has absorbed the traditions more deeply than his Mainland counterparts. An acute observer of nature, Hsu’s works are simultaneously archaic yet thoroughly modern.
Hsia I-fu's works are inspired by the monumental landscapes of the Sung masters, such as Li Ch'eng and Hsu Tao-ning. The artist spends days, sometimes weeks, to construct massive, weighty rocks and mountains out of minute strokes. The rock forms have a sensuous, anthropomorphic quality with the high contrast of light and dark similar to the Western concept of chiaroscuro.
Jia Youfu’s virtuoso brushwork and wash combine the tradition of massive, foreboding landscapes of the Northern Sung masters with dramatic color and operatic abstraction. Leading an almost hermit-like existence, Jia travels and paints with little social contact outside the Central Art Academy in Beijing. His works are highly prized not only for their technical merit but also because of the artist’s near inaccessibility, even to the Chinese.
Arguably, no other contemporary Chinese artist pushes the limits of traditional Chinese painting media further than Liang Quan. Liang creates elaborate overlapping collages from strips of xuan paper and then adds color and ink onto the surface. In other pictures, he uses tea to wash the paper strips. In another series of abstract works, he uses tea rather than ink as his primary painting medium, reflecting some of the works American Edward Ruscha did in the seventies using gunpowder and fruit juice.
Although the group has disparate styles, they remain true to scholarly traditions. All of the painters embrace the centuries-old tradition of retreating to the countryside for scholarly contemplation. Their paintings express this yearning for escape into a natural world. Each artist in this own way uses his art not only as a meditative process but also as a vehicle for veiled commentary against the turbulent rat-race of current society.