The culture of Chinese ink painting in Taiwan is inherited from the tradition that passed along thousands of years. It’s been independently developed in this island for more than three hundred years. Over this period of time, the culture has been colonialized by Japan for 50 years and then influenced by literati masters (Pu Hsin-Yu, Huang Chun-Pi and Chang Da-Chien) from mainland China after 1949, the Chinese civil war. With early westernization and continuous innovation, a unique style has been formed with its own techniques and features.
Skills of Chinese ink painting have been changing. The traditional techniques are gradually replaced by modern color ink painting techniques, and the basics of skills seem less valued nowadays. On the other hand, the development of ink painting in mainland China was interrupted by Cultural Revolution, and thereafter it becomes a new stream of style. So many ink paintings are introduced to Taiwan, affecting public taste of ink painting here.
I’ve been concerned about the future of ink painting in Taiwan, so the most important purpose of this exhibition is to call public attention to get in touch of the spirit of Taiwanese ink painting style and the essence of traditional basic techniques. This style inherits the profound Chinese culture and combines with diversified variations along with historic events happened on this island. Hopefully it could be valued and well-preserved for good rather than overly be assimilated by skin-deep modern skills. This exhibition tells how deep my love is to Taiwan.
“Beauty is a primeval phenomenon (urphänomen), which itself never makes its appearance, but the reflection of which is visible in a thousand different utterances of the creative mind, and is as various as nature herself.”said the Philosopher Goethe.
When all is quiet at dead of night, the painter feels relieved from a long day of work. The studio is the place where the inspiration and the spring of life meet and where the painter observes his emotions burgeoning from the internal and the external. At dark, the light turns down and the artist honestly faces the naked nature. It’s a spiritual conversation and interaction.
Chien Hsin-Pin’s paintings speak for his specialties that combine the techniques from East and West. Not restrained by the traditions, the works present a broad vision and progressive ambition in arts.
The ideal black of Chien is warm that reveals the relationship among people in East Asia Society. He paints in layers with the tenacity and transparency of pigments. The warmth and emotion of memories are gently released. His expressions are not about the sound of roaring waves, but more about the comprehension of life and experience after self-reflection and self-cultivation.
Chien Hsin-Pin likes to paint and capture the moment while the daylight is faint and dim. The light penetrates the limitless space as the mind explores to find answers. When the light spots on a specific position and the viewer stares attentively, his focus will gradually be dissolved as time goes by. The image then emerges and be captured as a visible memory for good, ultimately traveling in time and space.
The artworks are inspired from the memories of Chien Hsin-Pin’s foreign trips. The footprints in the cities transform into imagery that becomes shapes, imaginations and abstract concepts onto canvas. The impact is emotional but also rational and straightforward. Upon the whole-hearted process of creation, it’s a practice of self-discipline and liberation of mind.
The Lights and Colors - Kuo Yan-Ya
Neither limited by the tradition nor accepting education from an art school, Kuo Yan-Ya started her art career after entering the work force. Her paintings cannot be specifically categorized. With Kuo’s sharp observation and accurate capture of color, the pieces of her memories are depicted softly and cozily like silk. Beyond the shape, color, light and shadow of visible appearance, the paintings are expressions and soliloquies of her mind.
The topics of Kuo Yan-Ya’s artwork include early settings of good old agricultural era and natural scenery of mountains and waters. Her paintings are warm and filled with cheerful colors, free without boundaries. They are just the reflection of her pursuit in art.
She continues to learn from the seniors and Nature and explores various techniques and knowledges. As life goes on, the experience will become her artwork and create a new page of her own.
The Whispers and Poems of Porcelain Works - Jiang Han-Ching
Art and creation are the principle of life upon self-fulfillment needs. Being himself, Jiang Ching-Yuan follows what he wanted in the very beginning of his career in art. Innocence and purity as a kid are true merit for Jiang as an artist. He is exciting about exploring Nature, the major source of his creativity.
The theme of Jiang Ching-Yuan’s artwork is quite different from other ceramic artists. He is talented depicting of mountains, rocks and animals vividly onto the porcelain work. The mountains and rivers are gorgeously situated and delicately presented in details. The outlines strengthen the shape of objects and the flying creatures decorate the work, reconciling the real nature and the performance of art.
The uniqueness of Jiang’s paintings reflects the persistence and the profoundness of his life. The strokes reveal the footage of his innermost. Art is the way to settle his restless spirit and home to his mind.
The theme of my artwork is often the endless-stretching mountains which portrays one's transcendental poise and magnanimous attitude; or the magnificent peaks that symbolize perseverance and an enthusiastic spirit. To me, the rolling hills best represents a pleasant state of emotion and a tranquil mindset. I like to use the imagery of floating clouds to convey an ambience of lightness and ease; reflective water to convey a cheery and lighthearted sentiment; or a flowing mountain spring to convey boundless vitality. The dynamics of ceramics are determined by the earthy, raw clay and the velvety glaze. Various shapes could be created beyond the restriction of physical space with wondrous and intricate interpretation of 3-dimensions. The sculpturesque curves and outlines are characteristic and robust, implying the vitality of life out of clay blocks. When producing the earthenware, I follow the characteristics and the property of the raw material, creating an affinity between the earth and human. For that reason, the potteries can be harmoniously fused into our modern living space.
When it comes to ceramic creation, natural scenery and phenomenon are my recurring themes. I would take a section of the landscape and render the magnificence and versatile sight into one unique piece. For pieces that portray natural landscapes, the simplicity of the silhouette, precise cut of the surface, and the gentle curved lines are the dominating traits. The different elements need to be tactfully fused in order to present elegance and tranquility. When handling the clay surface, I tend to keep the grainy texture and use only sectional glaze in order to maintain the subtle, earthy characteristics of the clay and to further reveal its inner spirit. Some clay work are cured in a wood fire kiln so the smoked mark or the ash-induced glaze would intensify the raw, earthy, aged characteristics.
Paintings are developed while we observe nature and escape from the reality, resulting in expressions of “existence of self”. The canvas is like a fracture from the body of self, containing part of broken imageries and memories out of the fragmented, mingling and descriptions of senses.
The formation and depletion of everything continue as the changing seasons move forward. Nature, in my memory, is a combination of countless segments and glances, and my artwork presents the result of such deduction, creation and rebuilding of my memory.
Drawing is a process to pursue the freedom and liberation, and to drift from essence and existence; imagination and physical objects; the visible and invisible. Someone who floats in the space of imagination and resonates with the spirit will release the power of emotions and the inner being of self.
One can express sense and sensibility or sub-create a world in another's perception by way of escaping the transformation of natural environment and substances. “Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul,“ said Claude Debussy. The musician weaved the music notes and rhythm to present the landscape of nature in his mind, whereas I paint and disclose the splitting and impetuous soul, which is suffering anxiety and restlessness.
Vision –A Mutual Imagination Built upon Our Interrelated Visual Perceptions
My Vision reserves an empty space for Direct Visual Perception that allows Your Vision to fill in. It becomes a mutual imagination between the artist and the audience.
Direct Visual Perception is formed before the process of thinking like the birth of universe. It’s a chaotic status as the seawater rages and roars and as the primitive land initiates a canvas. Everything is back to the start of Visual Imagery. Together we establish the unreal Vision. Time and history elapsing, the imagination unlimitedly enlarges and extends.
My Vision uncovers an open field for your imagery to grow. Collectively we own an imagination that contains our imageries.
Led to a virgin imagination, you and I are processing an incredible adventure of imagery beyond our understanding. It’s a metaphysical call to the dream land out of greatness, profoundness, fantasy, detachedness, mystery and dynamics.
I can never quit the endless pursuit of such material, which is simply made of pigments and linen fabrics.
What does an art piece look like if it’s free of thinking process while being created?
A non-existent world could be more truthful to the spirit than the real life.
Art originates from the motivation of my innermost but is created at ease with a peaceful mind.
As the technology advances, the civilization doesn’t follow accordingly. When we stroll the trails in the countryside and see the changing light in a day, such satisfaction is so real that can never be replaced by anything in the virtual digital world.
The solo exhibition of Chen Chi-Fen tells her exploration about natural beauty and the reflection of her aesthetic sense. Now an art lecturer at a university, Ms. Chen used to be a music teacher for many years. Upon the experience in different forms of arts – music, oil painting and crystal glass art – she feels that life is like a piece of symphony that she could hypostatize the imagery of melody and her mental state onto artwork. The colors of notes become vivid oil paintings and glamorous crystal glass sculptures.
This exhibition – the Chih Arts and Inspiration – contains two themes. The oil painting series is about modern Impressionism. Chen Chi-Fen adopts the techniques of both eastern splash-ink and western automatism. The virtual and objective shapes combine and coordinate, conveying overwhelmed emotions. As regards to crystal glass, Ms. Chen fuses innovative techniques and materials, of which the knowledge of expertise was fostered at New York Pratt Institute and National Taiwan University of Arts. The spatial blocks and color displacement orchestrate a mysterious crystal glass work that reveals brightness with partial transparency.
Beauty is the source of imagination and its impact is boundless. The clarity of crystal glass projects our beautiful mind. The profoundness of oil painting explores the innermost of our hearts. In recent years, Chen Chih-Fen’s artwork is about her life and the retrospect of her career in arts. It’s a self-discovery to pursue the inspiration of beauty and an ambition to attempt new media and skills. Ms. Chen continues her dialogue with society and modern arts, ending up with plenty of aesthetic and poetic works.
Red Is a Format of Resolution While Burning
To draw something decently is never easy. A true artist presents outcry, compassion, or introspection of his or her life in an art piece, instead of a simple visual format of sweet and pleasure. I think ultimately artists will seriously take journey of life and death as themes when creating. They are asking questions such as“who am I?”,“where do I come from?” or “where am I going?” Answers are down in the paintings. Some come with weighted heart and emotional surges; some come with tears and bitterness; and others come with forgiveness, mercy and thankfulness. As a result, the artwork becomes believed and emerges the power of life, which touches the audience’s heart and passes through generations.
I have always been fascinated with Chinese calligraphy since I was young. Even in dark typhoon nights when the power was off, I continuously practiced writing until midnight with candles lit. There is a strong bond between the flow of ink and my life. The strokes reflect my delight, anger, sorrow and happiness, as if they dance with the melody of my soul and bring me to the top of the world. Furthermore, calligraphy art led me to fields of Chinese ink painting, western painting and sculpture, in which I feel belongingness in art and life.
In my early artworks, I didn’t use too many colors, which may distract and draw audience’s attention away. They are mostly mono ink paintings that tell stories purely in black and white. Then I attempted western paintings and learned to understand the diversity of color. I realize that color could easily influence one’s emotion, evoke one’s eagerness and revive one from being demoralized. I once saw a documentary about master painter Wang Pan-Yuan. He said he was born with talent in playing with colors. So glad that I am now more sensitive in applying colors to my work.
I am also exploring possibilities of shapes. An irregular object could break the balance of a picture, resulting in unexpected visual effect. Whenever my inspiration dries out, I will try something outside of the box and see if it can make a plain image interesting and impactful with tension that catches audience’s eyeballs.
Last but not least, it is critical for me to draw. Diligently I draw when I am in pleasure, anger, sadness and joy. The extension of my paintings opens a wide and pure utopian world and conveys various tastes of life. And I draw because drawing soothes the bitterness of my life.
Yeh Fa-Yuan is talented for applying leather sculpture art to themes of nature and life, bringing vitality into cattle leather and making the figures vivid as real. “Art is rooted in lands and creativity comes from daily life” is the faith while Mr. Yeh creates his work.
The realistic style of Mr. Yeh is unique and opens a new page of leather art. He is the first artist to win the first prize of National Crafts Achievement Award and several other international awards. A mixture of craftsmanship and humanity, his works tell the stories of the rural culture and reflect his affection for his homeland Taiwan. Mr. Yeh’s outstanding works represent modern leather art and were once exhibited in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, collects Mr. Yeh’s artwork and admires his marvelous techniques that even high-technology cannot achieve. Yeh Fa-Yuan’s leather sculptures are frequently selected as premium gifts for diplomacy or business purposes. “The Harvest”, leather figurine artwork, is the official present for the 2009 Cross-Strait High-Level Talk to Chen Yun-Lin, Chairman of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). This honor speaks for the international reputation and popularity of Yeh Fa-Yuan’s leather sculpture art.Facebook Album
Mr. Lin Tsung-Ming is concerned with the land he is living as the theme of his works. He explores the simplicity and diversity of countryside landscapes with different view angles, distance and time. Carefully observing his paintings, we could discover various expressions in the composition of forms, colors and techniques. The magnificent mountains and endless ocean tell the spirit of perseverance and courage to challenge the unexpected. The delicacy of color variations further reflects rich emotions and sincerity artistically. This exhibition is a collection of Mr. Lin’s favorite idyllic scenery of Lanyang Plain. The rural tranquility, rice fields and farm houses are everywhere in his paintings. We look forward to experiencing how Mr. Lin Tsung-Ming is inspired by the countryside beauty and the pastoral life in terms of oil paintings. This is going to be a remarkable and heart-touching exhibition.Facebook Album
Art inspired from daily chores is fascinating. Ordinary things can ignite sparkle as life experience can refine vitality. These are the origins of art creation. Creation records life. Good memory elapses as time goes by, but we can capture our expression of emotion through art creation. Creation is more than a piece of product; it is a thought, attitude and life.
Many people have aphasia when they exposed to avant-garde art. Art classification and sampling have become a game limited to a small group of professionals. In fact those arts we discuss are separating from our lives. However, art is still part of our soul. Our value and desire will not alter as long as our nature remain unchanged. Principle of art should not depart from human nature!
The world is dark, but our lives can lighten it up. Living in a modern world, people want more for everything, and a faster and more convenient way of life. Does it mean better? We definitely need to think about it. Can the shadow of information enrich our lives or accumulate as our wisdom? Art is my way of life as well as the mode to improve my life and make me feel better.
It is an optimistic message, a nimble imagination. Thoughts flow like river. We can turn invisible thoughts into reality, visualize abstract idea; erase rationality temporarily, emptiness lead to intuition – an entanglement of symbol and vision, as well as a liberation of emotion. We are bounded by walls, can we find our peace of mind without relying on power, achievement, money, sensual enjoyment .......? Creation is simply a communication of our dilemma and imagination of our lives out of the interaction with the environment. The process of creation stores our emotion and idea. It is also the way to find peace of mind.
My artwork is an expression of my life. I am an artist not good at writing, but through my works, you may discover many forgotten things.
I enjoy travelling and simple life in all seasons.
As the hazy chaos set before the dawn,
I gaze at the illusive skylight from the inside of the house,
Perceiving the essence of myself as my artwork approaches me and reaches out my spirit.
The water buffalo is an emotional symbol for most people in Taiwan. In traditional art, drama or folk music, the water buffalo represents the characteristic of those who work hard growing plants in paddy fields. They are simple, humble, honest but introvertedly expressing their inner emotions.
When it comes to Taiwan’s art history, the water buffalo is a significant topic. Before Hsiao Tzu-Ming, there are many classics: Huang Tushui’s plaster relief masterpiece, Yen Shui-Long’s mosaic wall art in Jian Tan Park, as well as the amazing artworks by Lin Chih-Chu, Chen Cheng-Po, Ran In-Ting, Cheng Shan-Hsi, let alone Yang Yuyu and Zhu Ming. National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts even named its major gallery as Water Buffalo.
As mentioned, the water buffalo positions a unique place in Taiwan’s art history and becomes a symbol that conveys the developing stages of regional art. Hsiao Tzu-Ming, moving to Vancouver for more than 20 years, is the first overseas Taiwanese artist who creates considerable artworks around this local emblem.
Let’s talk about the water buffalos in Hsiao’s works.
From the aspect of his methodology, Tzu-Ming follows the tradition to actually observe in breadth and in depth. He would spend a whole day conducting the fieldworks and monitoring the buffalos. “I watch few flocks of water buffalos, tracking their activities every once in a while,” said Hsiao. For his works «Sublimation » and «Circulation», Tzu-Ming has massive sketches of water buffalos, technically drafting their muscles, skeletons, movement and even emotions.
For Hsiao’s composition, it’s a fusion of reality and fiction like the trend in Renaissance period. The main characters are placed in a close-up with an imaginary background. This method is aimed to emphasize the role’s personality and feeling. The fictitious background is detached to the topic and makes the focus onto the character so that the indescribable mindset could be accentuated and observable. And so do Tzu-Ming’s water buffalos, such compositions reflect a sense of tameness and solemnity.
Finally, Hsiao Tzu-Ming takes the risk in colors. He abruptly applies contradictory colors, which require an artist with a sharp talent in color to combine favorably. In his oil paintings «Bluish Gray (Tsang) » and «Circulation», the contrasting colors are showy but successfully bring the images of water buffalo into a style of contemporary art. His adventurous courage is admirable that he creates a different space of his own.
This exhibition also includes several of his paintings depicting the scenery in Canada. The use of color explains Hsiao’s unique way of lyrical expressions. These artworks together with the portraits of water buffalos implicitly flow the theme - Circulation.Facebook Album
I was attracted by the forest atmosphere at the moment when I walked into it. I like to observe the subtle lives in the wilderness - the dancing butterflies, the worms nibbling tree leaves, and the bouncing birds flying over the branches…… I discover the growth of creatures and paint the leaves, flowers, and pieces of deadwood in the wild. I feel the breath of plants. Wild life drawing is like a key for me to exploring nature, enabling me to experience all forms of life in the world.
I draw a fallen leaf in the process of withering. I draw a flower, feeling the growth of a plant – starting as a seed burgeoning hopes of new life. A row of bush and a corner of forest nurture on my paper. So much I appreciate the colorful change of seasons, feeling the moisture and aroma flowing in the air. Nature is the source of my inspiration. The pure and primitive sensation is aroused when I write down the flower and grass around.Facebook Album
After leaving the glamorous life in Taiwan Television and getting back to basics, Lan Jung-Hsien focuses on painting and living a completely different life. Without spotlights, his current seaside lifestyle is ordinary and peaceful.
Away from social connections, Lan Jung-Hsien stays close to nature every day for new painting ideas, which are the partial result of this exhibition. He has many scenery works depicting the sea at the moment the sun rises. Very often he wanders along the coast of Yilan before the sunrise to catch the image of the rising sun that starts a beautiful day. Sunrise stands for hopes and the future, and rays of light brighten up his creations.
Rearranging the spiritual status is the motivation why Lan Jung-Hsien takes the sunrise as the theme of paintings. His life is used to be glamorous with the past title and high income at Taiwan Television. There is a question: how to get back to the start and to create a new painting style? Lan Jung-Hsien decided to start with a reborn phoenix - the “Fly” series. The firebird is placed in a huge picture hanged on the wall, with wings surrounded the whole frame. The character belongs to artistic vocabulary, generating rhythmic leaps and interconnecting emotions. The color is so showy and the strokes are so rough that make the image impactful and powerful.
Recently Lan Jung-Hsien demonstrates his tactful painting skills of suturing, overlaying, and scattering in his “Butterfly” series. He scatters liquefied acrylics onto specific zones of the canvas. With skills of printmaking such as rolling, pressing, and transfer printing, the unexpected stripes and patterns would be the background. Then Lan draws plenty of repeating and abstract butterflies in different sizes. The result introduces a new realm of random beauty: colors represent seasons; the concept of suturing implies merging of worlds.
Lan Jung-Hsien’s skillful techniques can be traced back to his youth. This exhibition also includes Lan’s excellent works when he was a teenager and competed in Taipei Art Exhibition or National Art Exhibition. At the time, his style was new and revolutionary. And now that he starts painting again, his artwork is even more mature and continues to break the limit.
It seems to be the harvest season in his life. Lan Jung-Hsien stays away from the city and stays alone, simplifying his work to only contemplating and painting. The more distance he is from the applause and the crowd, the more chances he has to be inspired by streams and waterfalls in the wild. The desire to capture the sound of the roaring wave and the whispering river motivates him to take various form of water as the main theme in his painting recently.
Water and the imagery of flying become Lan Jung-Hsien’s focus nowadays. He concretizes the sound of water and the uprising trace of flying onto the canvas. Both concepts are what Lan Jung-Hsien rediscovers after he picks up the painting brush again and starts a new page of life in his homeland Yilan.Facebook Album
If the human world is a garden, artists will be the planters of dreams. They bring extraordinary imaginations and wonderful flowers to the world. Through eyes and multifaceted artistic expressions of the artists, the observers are able to open their own vision and hear their inner voices and desires.
My artwork represents different expressions of my mental consciousness, which flows and interweaves each other. Photography is the tool that I set scenes and write poems. Through the quiet and speechless world established by the lenses, my curious eyes can see without boundaries. How beautiful and mysterious the scenery could be – only the simple and fuzzy patches of colors remain. I feel as if entering a form of light when I observe the flowers. Photography allows me to present the spiritual side of me. It’s pure and both concrete and abstract. Paintings, ink drawings, and calligraphies represents the streams of my consciousness. They are in terms of the known and the unknown, the novelty and the joy of the world. Sculptures concretize the unstrained and resilient flow of my life. My early sculptures mainly presented objective bodies. As age brought new understanding of life, I started to include what I learned from nature, what I thought and what I touched into my artwork. I try to understand how to turn stressful life into fresh buds and flowing water in spring. Even though days are constantly followed by shadows and stuck in bitter darkness, we should always face towards the sun - the blessing of nature that we could deal with difficult situations. In my works, human bodies contain elements of spring and philosophies of nature. I want to share my feeling that life is rich and cheerful. Since 1988, I have exercised self-fulfillment for more than 20 years every day without rest, doing whatever pleases me this way – to create something out of nothing and to accomplish the ideal and the joyfulness in my heart.
Arts leads me to an artistic field like a religion. I think artists are the decoders of the physical world, nature and inner the spiritual aspects. We see things that many other people cannot see or sense. We internalize and transform the information into written words or images – either realistic or abstract – honestly presenting the enchanting world we observe. There is no end. I continue to strengthen, open up new visions, and present to the world. This is what arts matters to me and what arts means to me –
I observe. I discover. I create. I disappear.
When the exhausted body quietly lies down, the soul wakes up.
The white nights and black days fly and extend.
It’s a joy to create –
I peep the profound thoughts of nature via human bodies, from which mountains, waters and flowers grow.
It’s why I am joyful to create -
To get rid of the old that are dead.
To rebel against the stale and tasteless realities and systems and to allow life to explore without boundaries.
To break the restrictions of time and space, traveling, floating and enchanting.Facebook Album
"A flower is not a flower; a fog is not a fog
It comes at night, but goes at dawn
Sweet dream does not linger
It disappears without a trace."
Tang Dynasty, Bai Ju-Yi
My face does not reflect my soul. However, worrying about the appearance is inevitable for everyone in this world.
A flower made of thread or leather is not real flower as it blooms forever and never decays.
Beauty brings along appreciation and tranquility. One flower is one world; one leaf is one Tathagata.
You are invited to appreciate the flower, which is not a flower, and to see through the fog, which is not a fog.Facebook Album
Globalization sweeps away the culture’s uniqueness of all places in the world. Consumption consolidation has become the new world culture. As a result, material civilization overwhelms our mind, people think of desire all the time, and spending money becomes the only meaning in our lives. When infinite expansion of desire rules our spirit, we live insensitively like a frog swimming in slowly heated water and dying gradually in comfort.
I use desire as a perspective to observe the society and discover the true meaning of this ever changing world through desire. Through the view of animals, I perceive those big events of contemporary civilization and unveil people’s survival status, and psychological change. Everyone has desire which is reasonable, even animal has desire, as we are born with desires: materialism, appetite, sex, and power. However, giving animal a role to impersonate and express with emotion can bring forth a dramatic gaze and result in a picture with an unprecedented fantasy experience. Such a gaze may be sarcastic, but it helps revealing human’s civilization.
The exhibition “Reading Civilization” reveals nowadays deflected desire and ridiculous behavior and enables us to examine the true meaning of desire. Desire can work like opium - slowly destroy ourselves unconsciously in comfort. It can also drive us to satisfy ourselves through aggression and destruction. Conflict, war, disease, environmental pollution, and natural resources depletion are related to desire too. I want to emphasize the fact that desire has been altered completely. Desire never stops expanding while people become insensitive to amplify their ambition. While people satisfy their desire, culture vanishes on the other hand, losing spirit completely, and falling into depravity. The irony is that people’s desire is found on self-destruction and destructive aggression, while those extravagant clothes, gourmet dishes, skyscrapers, and so called modern development …are flattered as fashion and advancement. Although we have lesson learned, the game never fall short of newcomers. Such a drama makes us laugh with tear.Facebook Album
I spent a long time ruminating on different phrases, playing with the right wording without structure, and thinking constantly, “Where do I start?” Lifting one’s pen comes with heavy responsibility. It is just as difficult as lifting a sculpture knife, a grinder, or any other apparatus.
I love this piece of land, and I make creations based on everything I have seen and heard. Rural life starts early in the morning. You stay muddy until dusk, turning over soil to sow the seeds. Then comes the hard work of fertilization, irrigation, weeding, and working diligently until the arrival of the harvest.
Who said, “You reap what you sow?” They must have always used their most earnest attitude, spilling forth all their love. I want to be exactly like them: one with the mud, sowing cultural seeds, and eagerly awaiting the sprouting of seeds each day on this beautiful island.
This continual spirit of dedication and persistence, put forth by the people of our land, will endure forever.Facebook Album
“When he draws the curtain covering his picture, the grapes are so true to nature that birds fly to the picture and peck at them.” Pliny, a Roman historian, recounts the effect of painting created by Zeuxis. In the competition between Zeuxis’s grapes and Parrhasius’ curtain, their performance is exactly what Plato said – Illusionist. However, when art is crowned as metaphysics, image is no longer a simple imitation of reality. It’s just like Plato’s argument – art is only an imitation of truth; therefore, the relationship between image and reality becomes complicated.
Image, as a way to seek the truth, maintains an ambiguous relationship with the truth. Like flowers in the mirror and moon in the water, it holds certain truth but the truth is interpreted in different ways. Observing the camellia portrait from Sung Dynasty, we could see the precise lines drawn slowly and steadily, and feel the painter’s breath. In contrast, white flowers depicted in a 17th-century picture might be started with thin layers of pigments, then blended with stacks of color, and finished with abstract intensity of color, following every breath of the painter. Either by explicit ink lines or by epic classical painting, the truth can be expressed differently. Therefore, different images reveal how different cultures interpret aesthetic transformation of the real world.
Seeing flowers in a mirror may result in an unusual glamour; the moon in the water looks even elegant. Illusion comes and goes away. The fickle and untraceable image is also a state of conception.
We invite you to experience the beauty of Illusion.Facebook Album
Since 90's, civilization has been overexpanded. The innovation of digital devices makes people indifferent to the interaction with each other, indirectly influencing the way we live. Anyhow the advance in technology, the desire and curiosity towards nature will not change, especially our obsession with the homeland. Under the complicated culture shock, I prefer to observe quietly. It is my own way to think critically over the fast-changing world as an artist.
I have slightly changed my topic of works, less about hand puppet and folklore religion. Owing to my ear illness, I'm now in favor of a sense of tranquility. The peacefulness and open space in countryside become luxury for city residents. Look out on the ocean, the stand-alone vessel, the spectacular surf and reddish sunrise freeze in one image. It's difficult for modern people to experience such tranquility with harmonization.
In addition to oil painting in pastoral and nostalgia, this exhibition presents a collection of ceramic. I purposely include the clay from the farmland to my piece. It'll reflect something simple and native. With decoration of rope and floodwood from seashore, it's unique Zen, an expression of eastern philosophy. In modern art, Western trend leads the field. We can see the forefront edge flickers the reactionary of origin. Even the conservative tradition spreads the fragrance of novelty. When I was a kid, the folk temple activities and idyllic seaside deeply buried in my mind. Days in foreign cities inspired me with the concept of modern art. Eastern and Western cultures collide and I thus realize: The Zen Philosophy rooted in Taiwan is my muse of art and I'll keep pursuing.Facebook Album
The eye is the container of image
The ear is the container of voice
The nose is the container of smell
The tongue is the container of taste
The body is the container of soul
The way you read is the container of how I think
The way you see is the container of sharing
The inspirational glass is the container of Zen
If you see it once and feel obsessed, that’ll explain me and contain the meaning of my life
At the specific moment, you witness the beauty of yourself
My glass will be the container of you
And the container to carry the worldFacebook Album
For a long period of time, I have my focus of pondering and art creating on the idea of “crowd”. “Crowd” is like a silent language that specifically depicts the city. Whenever I face a group of people, I am so eager to freeze the frame that I can retrospect some day and recall the precious moment.
In the beginning of cold 1995, I came to an unfamiliar city, Salamanca in Spain. Salamanca is an old college town with 800 years of history. In the Middle Ages, it was an academic center and now locates several magnificent churches, classic buildings, plazas and narrow streets paved with stones – a place surrounded by historic and cultural atmosphere. Unless you witness, you can hardly imagine that people here are decently dressed but live leisurely. When I belonged to this city, I was part of the crowd strolling the streets. I realized that the residents were wholeheartedly involved in and truly enjoying such a seemingly insignificant activity. Thus, the relaxed walking crowd is the symbolic imagery of the city and inspires me so much.
There are images bearing in my mind: people in the remote Spanish city gather and scatter; unfamiliar faces emerge. Are my paintings simply about faces of strangers? My artwork explores the mentality that we human beings mutually have. Each piece of work doesn’t stand alone but interconnects. Together it’s an inward and outward space that allows the audience to walk in and reconsider the meaning of “crowd”. I hope that you can open a window you just missed after you pass by the “crowd of strangers”. Standing for a while, you may discover something surprised in the crowd.Facebook Album
For artistic creation and research, Quenten Lee focuses on Eastern arts and philosophy. Besides arts, he is also interested in literature, psychology and religion and applies to Zen studies, writing and Zen drawing.
In his artwork, Quenten Lee conveys his understanding of Buddhism with the introduction of junior novices. At the corner of his paintings, he often writes down Buddhist texts in calligraphy to share meaningful stories. Although Lee explores serious themes, his paintings look unadorned and peaceful at first glance. They are actually profound and rich in vitality, enlightening the audience to stay grateful with contentment. The works also demonstrate Quenten Lee’s attitude about life, his elegant humor and unpretentious creativity.Facebook Album