If we, from the modern world we live in today, look back to the landscape paintings throughout Taiwan’s art history, we will witness centuries of transformation in geography as well as humanity. Like a cultural memory, the coastlines, mountains, parks, cities, and tourist spots in the paintings become the embodiment of the milieu.
Taiwan is a subtropical island characterized by rugged mountains from north to south, a moderate climate, and spring-like seasons throughout the year, while the brushstrokes on canvas capture a splendid, colorful, and vivid landscape. It was during the Japanese rule when modern art was introduced to Taiwan. After the first generation of modern artists finished their studies in Japan and returned to their native land, they brought back the influence of pleinairism and post-impressionism with them. The “local color” movement promoted in Japan at that time also had a strong influence on Taiwan’s early art styles with the encouragement of art education and government-held exhibitions.
Masters such as Chen Cheng-po, Liao Chi-Chun, Li Mei-Shu, Chen Houei-Kuen, Yang San-Lang, Chin Jun-Tso, Chen Te-Wang, and Liao Te-Cheng – the first generation of modern Taiwanese painters – had either traveled to or studied in foreign places like Japan, France, and China. Under the sky of their native land, Taiwan, they visualized the fascinating landscape and the fertile soil rich in cultures. The landscape flavored with “local colors” demonstrates the process from a rural Taiwan to a modern industrialized metropolitan, where the painters welcomed a new era of hope with their painting brushes. Their comprehensive and sensitive observation skills help document the local life of the period and geographical changes.
The exhibition Landscape · Imagery – Group Exhibition of Senior Taiwanese Artists features thirteen pioneering artists in Taiwan’s art history. The exhibits invite us to step into a world of picturesque nature, while the beautiful island is expressed onto the canvas with elegance and soberness.