Born in 1942, in Anhui, China, the four-year-old Lee Chung-Chung came to Taiwan with her parents. Lee’s father Lee Chin-Yu was a well-known ink painter. Having acquired the creative conscious and cultivation of the literati tradition and having received Western modern painting training in the Department of Fine Arts at Fu Hsing Kang College, the artist strived to discard doctrines and to build an individual path as a form of self-declaration. In 1968, she joined Chinese Ink Painting Study Association founded by Liu Kuo-Sung where she started developing a style of ink painting permeated with modernity and zeitgeist.
Since the late 1960s, Lee Chung-Chung has been committed to creating works of modern color ink art – one could say they walk the line between modernity and tradition. “Clumsy” and “bland” can be seen as aesthetic criteria on one hand and as scientific theories, philosophical concepts, and religious/spiritual principles on the other, reflecting the complex human concerns and life sentiments presented by ink painting. Ink painting comprises Eastern peoples’ observations and experiences of the entire world around them – its flora and fauna, its mountains and rivers, the wax and wane of sun and moon, the four seasons and eight cardinal directions – and reflects the subject matter of different branches of the humanities.
Years of observing and admiring the wonders of nature and becoming intimately familiar with the turning of the seasons has already become the most important external real-life source for Lee’s works. Transcending existing norms established through binary facets of concrete and abstract likeness, Lee treats color, form and ink as elements in the interchange between ontology and epistemology. Moreover, through the kinds of movement that are close to instinct and experimentation – backward and forward, turning, circumference and area, weight and speed, similarity and difference – she forms an individual art style and signature aesthetic. At the same time, during the implementation of the “eliminate skilled and sweet in favor of clumsy and bland” concept, Lee devoted her efforts to transforming the phenomena of the tangible universe, entering an intangible field of individual conceptualizations and contemplating time and space through the expression of emotion. Lee reconstructs the classical human spirit that long since lost its meaning within traditional ink painting, conveying the complex physical, mental and visual experiences of modern people, fusing the ancient with the modern, and entering a vast “mindscape” of East-West and self-integration.
Over a long period of time created abstract ink works, by means of color, line, shape, and time-space relation, demonstrate the artist’s approach to life and society, and even various observations and realizations about the universe. There is a seemingly vigorous circulation in her artworks; bright colors, according to the artist, are meant to feature same vibration as “an elephant stomping its feet.” Lee’s unique style, dominated by the charm of firmness and flexibility, has let her establish a solid position in Taiwanese abstract ink painting.
This exhibition is the second solo show by Lee Chung-Chung at Liang Gallery. It gathers a great collection of works created during 1992-2016: figure ink paintings, portraits of charming and vivid nudes, refined and tender ink-color works. Another series of works reflects on the appreciation that the artist feels for the four seasons and landscape, which she expresses through abstract ink painting. Lee Chung-Chung has been creating with cheerfulness for more than sixty years. Her painting style echoes the affection of nature and is not limited to any trends or by any business models. Lee is a leading representative of post-war abstract art in Taiwan.