Wang Dongling is recognized as one of China’s foremost living calligraphers and Chambers
will present a selection of recent works from his ongoing series of abstract ink-paintings on
rice-paper. Yan Shanchun’s evocative mixed-media paintings border on abstraction.
Born in 1957 in Hangzhou, Yan graduated from the Printmaking Department of the Zhejiang
Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Fine Arts) in 1982, and thus belongs to the
generation of artists who were the first to graduate after the academies were closed during
the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Trained in traditional Chinese calligraphy, Yan Shanchun draws his thematic content from
traditional Chinese art, the titles of his paintings and prints generally referring to famous
landscape motifs in Hangzhou's West Lake district, yet his paintings hover on the edge of
abstraction. In the paintings included in the exhibition, glimpses of the lake and its
surroundings can be seen through multiple layers of pigment which range from thin ink
washes to thicker applications of oil and acrylic applied with a palette knife.
Although Yan is fully cognizant of the long history of abstract painting in the West, he has
been less concerned with rivaling these antecedents than in modifying their example to
enrich the valued tradition of Chinese literati who cultivated the arts of calligraphy, painting
and poetry in seclusion.
Wang Dongling is one of China’s most highly regarded ink artists. Trained in classical
calligraphy, he studied at the progressive Zhejiang Academy and became increasingly
involved in China’s avant-garde movement in the mid-1980s. While continuing to work in
traditional styles, he also explores the abstract potential of calligraphy in freely brushed
works that can be compared with Western gestural abstraction. Called Chaos Script, this
series is considered a breakthrough in contemporary Chinese calligraphy, and he has been
asked to perform this unique style of writing in a large-scale format at institutions around the
Chambers will present artworks that encompass both Wang’s large abstract brushstroke
series and his Chaos Script series. The kinetic energy of these dynamic calligraphies
provides an engaging counterpoint to the tranquil allure of Yan Shanchun’s West Lake