An artist, architectural designer, curator, cultural critic, and social activist, Bingyi (b. 1975 in Beijing) has developed a multi-faceted practice that encompasses land and environmental art, site-specific architectural installation, musical and literary composition, ink painting, performance art, and filmmaking. For Art West Lake, INK studio presents her major series of human-scale land-and-weather works entitled Ice Paintings. Bingyi uses ink as "dark light" (carbon, an absolute absorber of light, in water, nature's universal solvent, fixed in time by paper, through absorption and evaporation) to capture the movement of sound waves at these sites of cultural destruction. INK studio also presents a selection of Bingyi’s encyclopedic series Fairies, an ongoing catalog of virtual bio-organismic forms inspired by her exploration of classical literary themes.
Chen Haiyan (b. 1955 in Fushun), over the past thirty years, has used her artistic practice to integrate the ephemeral, deeply private, fantastical world of her dreams within the fabric of contemporary China's rapidly-changing social reality by recording and publicly disseminating her dream reality through the dual traditional media of carved woodblock prints and brush and ink painting. Uniting traditional Chinese elite aesthetics with a rough vernacular quality, style and medium work seamlessly together as Chen Haiyan renders her subject matter — dream images from her unconscious — with an unparalleled sense of emotional directness.
Li Huasheng (b. 1944 in Yibin, d. 2018 in Chengdu) was a classically-trained ink painter who explored the shared phenomenology between mind-hand embodiment in classical brush and ink practice in calligraphy and landscape painting and time- and process-based practices employed in contemporary art. Li's practice included processual grid paintings, abstract ink landscapes, photography and ink-and-paper-based installations. In commemoration of the artist’s recent passing, INK studio will showcase one of Li Huasheng’s rarely-exhibited highly-abstract ink landscapes drawn from his deep connection with the mountains of the Himalayan Plateau, in addition to his iconic grid paintings.
Best known for his lush and colorful depictions of sensory pleasures in contemporary China, Li Jin (b. 1958 in Tianjin) has now turned his focus towards painting in monochrome, translating his well-honed sensitivity towards color washes into a masterful control of tonality. He paints in a looser, more gestural and expressive daxieyi style, exploiting the accidental effects of the medium. Along with the new series, we present Li Jin's rarely-seen paintings from the 1990's, when he was a young wanderer and sojourner in Tibet in search of an authentic and primal connection to nature. Pulsating with the intensity and fragility of life that he experienced there, the Tibet-period works relate strikingly to his new series, which itself represents another return to a state of pure and unencumbered creativity.
The artworks by Wang Dongling (b. 1945 in Rudong) ground the modernist engagement with gestural abstraction and the post-modern skepticism of language and power in the pre-modern practice of embodied action and performance originally developed in Chinese calligraphy. Wang Dongling himself is widely recognized as China's greatest living calligrapher and is perhaps the only artist to have been granted three solo exhibitions at the National Art Museum of China. Although he is perhaps best known for public performances of monumental "mad" cursive script calligraphy, his artistic practice can be highly experimental and includes "enormous, swashbuckling abstractions" (Roberta Smith, New York Times, [December 12, 2013]) and calligraphy in new media, such as chemical photography, in which Wang's calligraphic actions are directly captured on silver-gelatin photographic paper.
The artistic practice of Yang Jiechang (b. 1956 in Foshan) as a calligrapher-painter turned global social actor inverts the contemporary Chinese art world norm of using Western avant-garde forms to critique contemporary Chinese society. He accomplishes this by adopting the performative expressivity of the traditional brush and the paradoxical dialectics of pre-modern Daoist skeptics to expose the underlying social and cultural forces that shape our contemporary global reality. With his purely abstract One Hundred Layers of Ink works, which he inaugurated for the seminal 1989 trans-national show Magiciens de la Terre, Yang deals with the contrasting themes of material and spiritual transcendence, liberation of the individual, universal love and nature.
Throughout his career of three decades, Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961 in Shanghai) has held the classical Chinese ink tradition and Western pictorial abstraction in productive mutual tension. By exploring and exploiting the immanent qualities and behavior of his materials— ink, acrylic, water and paper—Zheng has developed a distinctive language of indexical abstraction—what critic Mark van Proyen calls “pre-constructed” in contrast to “de-constructed” art. Mounted on custom-fabricated, honeycomb-aluminum panels, Zheng’s latest works move into three-dimensional wall sculpture, enabling him to integrate elements of his light-and-space installation practice. In these works, Zheng incorporates insights from his immersive Wall of Skies installation for the 2016 Shanghai Biennale: Why Not Ask Again.