iPRECIATION is delighted to announce our participation in Ink Asia 2019, present-ing a selection of finest works by nine prominent Asian artists, namely Irene Chou, Koo Mei, Ju Ming, Gao Xingjian, Wang Dongling, Chen Xinmao, Jin Jie, Cai Heng, and Chu Chu, which will include contemporary calligraphy, ink paintings, oil paint-ings and sculpture.
Irene Chou 周綠雲 (b. 1924-2011, Shanghai; China, Hong Kong, Brisbane; Austral-ia) Chou was inspired by the theories of New Ink Painting. She became motivated to move away from traditional Chinese styles and decided to experiment with differ-ent media and techniques, so as to find her own personal expression. She ex-plored, through her ink and colour paintings, the inner workings of the mind and its relationship with the mysteries of the universe and began to experiment in the 1970s with different techniques including splash ink. Affected by the death of her mentor Lui Shou-Kwan and her husband, Chou’s works in the late 70s became darker and gloomier. From 1980s onwards, her abstract paintings exploded with stunning energy. Influenced by the Chinese philosophy of Zen and Taoism, she incorporated the one-stroke technique to create dynamic and abstract artworks. This became her signature style in the 80s and the powerful works that she created out of her technique and vision, has rendered her as one of the most innovative artists of the New Ink movement in Hong Kong. Chou passed away in 2011 and some of her well known series of artworks include; Universe is My Mind, Life is a Many Splendoured Thing, Circles upon circles and a poetic verse with seven abstract characters. Her works are collected in many prestigious international institutions and private collections including; the British Museum (London), Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA), Hong Kong Museum of Fine Arts (Hong Kong), City Gallery (Ma-nila), National Museum of History (Taipei, Taiwan) and Melbourne Raya Gallery (Australia).
Koo Mei 顧媚 (b. 1929, Guangzhou; China, Hong Kong, Vancouver; Canada) Koo studied under the tutelage of Chao Shao-an in 1963, Hu Nien-tsu in 1969 and the master of contemporary Chinese ink painting, Lui Shou-kwan in 1974. She has since established her own unique style of ink painting where her artworks depict mostly landscapes shrouded in free-form clouds, haze and mist. Her landscapes are conceptual, realised through interweaving lines that inspire impressions of mi-nuscule cracks on ancient stone tablets, and through layers of ink wash and colour, achieve an ethereal and Zen atmosphere of otherworld beauty. Even though Koo turned 90 last December, she still continues to paint every day. Currently, she lives and works in Vancouver. Her works have been collected by many important private collectors and organizations such as the State University of Utah, Hong Kong Mu-seum of Art, the Canadian Consulate General, Bank of America, Citibank, Bank of Australia, Hutchison Global Crossing Limited and Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Lim-ited in Hong Kong.
Ju Ming 朱銘 (b. 1938, Miaoli; Taiwan) Ju is one of the most important master sculp-tors in Asia. Born to a poor rural family in Miaoli County, Taiwan, he gave up study-ing after completing his primary school education and began working at the young age of fifteen. Encouraged by his father, Ju undertook his apprenticeship from fa-mous local craftsman, Lee Chinchuan, and acquired himself the mastery of wood-carving when he was barely twenty. 1968 marked a turning point of Ju Ming’s life as an artist when he became an apprentice of Yuyu Yang, a significant sculptor and pioneer of the modern art movement in Taiwan. Yang broadened Ju’s artistic vision by giving him opportunities to display his talent, as well as providing guid-ance. He also taught the artist to express himself freely by imparting to him, the phi-losophy of free expression of forms and feelings, and inculcated him with the aes-thetic values of simplicity and embracing environmentalism. His Nativist series con-sists of wood sculptures that depict the life of the Native Taiwanese. Following that, he created the Taichi series, an important milestone signifying the maturity of his sculptural language and aesthetic style. This series contains wood, stone, bronze and stainless steel sculptures portraying various Taichi movements, illustrating Ju Ming’s ability to wield his exquisite craftsmanship with complete ease and freedom, reaching the stage of forgetting self in the process. His third series, Living World, consists of wood, ceramic, bronze and stainless steel sculptures, paintings and col-lages that portrays various age groups and walks of life both at work and at play, capturing the rich diversity of humanity. Ju Ming’s artworks are in the collection of Canada Botanical Gardens (Canada), Ashmolean Museum Oxford University (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Israel), National Museum of Singapore (Singapore) and in many public spaces and museums around the world.
Gao Xingjian 高行健 (b. 1940, Ganzhou; China, Paris; France) Gao has been rec-ognised as the Renaissance man of our time. He is a multidisciplinary artist who has a successful career in both his academic and artistic discipline. The first Chi-nese individual to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000, Gao has been re-garded as a painter of the soul. Diverting away from traditional calligraphy and painting, Gao introduces abstraction into his ink paintings and frees them from liter-ary references. His masterful graduations, random or deliberate brush strokes, ma-nipulation of the white space and the grain of the medium, allows him to create beautiful enigmatic ink works. Well-known for his ink painting techniques to portray the movement of light and shadow, Gao exploits the limitless possibilities of black ink, creating monochromatic and ethereal compositions on paper and on canvas. Constructing rich, otherworldly mindscapes and the occasional lone silhouette with his ink, his artworks reflect the profoundness of his own philosophy which is heavi-ly influenced by Chinese aesthetics and Zen Buddhism. Like his paintings, Gao’ monochromatic photographs also embraces and embodies Gao’s profound philo-sophical mind. Gao lives and works in France. His works have been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, United States), Musée Guimet (Paris, Italy), Mai-son de la Culture de Bourges (France), Bibliothèque de l’Université de Marseille-Provence (France), Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Stockholm), Krapperups Konsthall, Malmö (Sweden), Leibnitz Gesellschaft für Kulturellen Austausch (Berlin), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore), National Museum of History (Taipei) and Royal Museums of Fine Arts (Brussels, Belgium).
Wang Dongling 王冬齡 (b.1945, Rudong; China) Wang is widely recognised as China’s greatest living calligrapher who has had three solo exhibitions with the ex-tremely distinguished National Art Museum of China. Wang graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the Nanjing Normal University (Nanjing, China) in 1966 and a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Calligraphy Department of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (Hangzhou, China) in 1981. His works are often deeply rooted in the ancient philosophies of Buddhism, Daoism, as well as Chinese poetry. In 1989, Wang began his own exploration of pure abstraction which eventu-ally evolved into his well-known abstract artworks with monumental cursive and chaotic script calligraphy. His chaotic script calligraphy is characterised by his errat-ic and dynamic strokes while at the same time also embracing spatial movement, space and gestural abstraction, liberating each and every written character from the bounds of text. Further breaking away from tradition, Wang has integrated calligra-phy with new media, like using chemical photography to directly capture his calli-graphic actions on silver gelatin photographic paper. Notably, his works have been prominently exhibited at international and global institutions such as the Metropoli-tan Museum of Art (New York City, USA), Guggenheim Museum (New York City, USA), National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China) and the Palace Museum (Bei-jing, China). His works have also been permanently collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, USA), British Museum (London, UK) and Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK).
Chen Xinmao 陳心懋 (b. 1954, Shanghai; China). Chen studied at the Art Depart-ment of Shanghai Theatre Academy for his bachelor’s degree and graduated in 1982. He later obtained his master’s degree from Nanjing University of the Arts in 1987. Chen is presently a Professor at East China Normal University, College of the Arts, where he manages the Chinese painting studio and supervises master’s de-gree students.
Chen has participated in numerous exhibitions since 1981, exhibiting widely across China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and internationally. His recent exhibitions include Avant-Garde Shanghai - Shanghai 30 Years Con-temporary Art Literature Exhibition (1979-2010): Unit 2 - New Wave of Avant-Garde (1985-1992) at Mingyuan Art Museum, Shanghai in 2018 and “2017 Re-start" - East China Normal University Academy of Fine Arts First Teacher Exhibition at Power-long Art Center, Shanghai in 2017-2018. Chen’s artworks have also been featured in various publications and exhibition catalogues.
Jin Jie 金捷 (b. 1965, Jiangsu; China) graduated from oil painting studies in Nanjing University of Arts in 1991, and went on to achieve an M.A. in Western Arts and Lec-ture in 1997. In 2008, he obtained a Ph.D in Fine Art from his alma mater Nanjing University of Arts in Jiangsu province. He is teaching in Fine Arts University in Nan-jing. The lyrical nature of Jin Jie’s semi-abstract works is a testament of his mastery of western traditional of oil painting techniques. With over two decades of explora-tion and development within one of the most competitive art institutions in China, Jin Jie employs inviting colours, notably various shades of grey, black and white, with occasional strokes of colours, to portray the rural landscape of his beloved homeland. He feels a strong affinity to his homeland, a personal and familiar place deeply rooted where his spirit lifts when he encounters her beautiful landscape and scenery. This is evident in his work where we observe generous layers of oil streaked across the canvas, in quick and vigorous strokes, capturing not the minute details but the essence of the place, of the atmospheric qualities of the Jiangsu landscape and also the essence of the artist’s state of mind and his response to the place. As such, Jin Jie instinctively captures the spirit of Jiangnan style – where the works are poetic rather than political in today’s contemporary art scene. Despite the weighty societal changes occurring in China, the artist has allowed viewers to adopt a unique perspective of his hometown, casting aside the stuffy, industrialized at-mosphere that precedes economic development, and drawing attention to the pres-ence of a poetic, tireless cultural code that binds a country with its people. Jin Jie has exhibited extensively within Jiangsu province and is a member of the prestig-ious China Artists Association amongst many other notable appointments in China. Jin Jie’s works are in the collection of many private and public institutions, muse-ums, galleries and private collectors.
Cai Heng 蔡珩 (b. 1973, China/ Singapore) grew up in a family with strong artistic background, where she received training on Chinese painting and calligraphy un-der the guidance of her father. Cai graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts (Distinction) in 1995. She then went on to pursue a PhD in Art History and Theory from the Univer-sity of Sydney, Australia, in 2008. Currently, Cai is living in Singapore, where she practices her art and works as a researcher. She is presently a senior curator at the National gallery of Singapore as well as a lecturer at the National University of Sin-gapore, where she teaches visual arts of China. Cai’s diverse experience and ex-posure to Eastern and Western art allowed her artistic style to take root. Her execu-tion of traditional media of ink and brush on paper is free of depiction of any forms. Rather, it captures the interaction between the splashes of water, ink and color on paper. She has exhibited extensively since she was a student and her works have been shown in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Europe.
Chu Chu 儲楚 (b.1975, Hangzhou; China) is a multidisciplinary artist who is accom-plished in ink painting, calligraphy, photography and oil painting. She majored in oil painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2000. Subsequently, she attained a Master’s Degree in New Media at the academy in 2007 and a PhD in calligraphy (under the tutelage of acclaimed calligraphic master, Wang Dongling) in 2015.
Chu Chu seeks to incorporate the art form of Chinese ink painting into her photo-graphic and calligraphic work. Her oeuvre is closely connected with nature and mat-ter; both key elements that consistently underlies her choice of subject matters in most of her works. She is also deeply influenced by Chinese philosophies and classical texts. In both of her series titled Whisper of Trees and Magnolia Flower, she extracts certain portions from Chinese poems and books that describes the rela-tionship between man and nature, subtly incorporating them into the background of her ethereal photographs of tree branches and flowers, evoking a sense of quie-tude and transience. This juxtaposition of images constructed instantly from a cam-era, together with the carefully and slowly constructed calligraphic characters pre-sents interesting layers of meaning, as they successfully combine two very different visual languages – contemporary photography and traditional calligraphy.
Chu Chu was the recipient of the Shiseido Prize for Best Female Photographer (2011) under the Three Shadows Photography Award in Beijing, China. Her works have been showcased in selected solo exhibitions including Material Immaterial (3 Gallery, Beijing, Kunst Licht, Shanghai, China, 2014), About Material － Solo Exhi-bition of New Media, Photography, Calligraphy (Hanhouse Art Museum, Hang-zhou, China, 2013) and It’s Not It (OFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2008). She has also been actively participating in group exhibitions and photography festivals in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Europe, U.K and the USA.