"Breathing" is the most basic activity we engage in as living creatures. When we stop doing it for just a few minutes, we die. As a necessary function for human beings, "Breathing" can be a phenomenon that has been reviewed for a very long time. As mentioned by art critic Jean-Yves Liao, "Discussion surrounding breathing could be science, philosophy, literature, or art." Since 1996, Liú Yung-Jen's work has been largely focused on the space between breaths. To him, breathing is the most primitive and simplest, but also the most complicated and subtle thing, in which he discovers endless possibilities during the interaction between the two media and urges him to continuously discuss the thoughts, space and spiritual meanings between breaths from spiritual practices that derive from physical concepts in his later artistic transformation.
From 1990 to 1998, Liú Yung-Jen studied abroad in Milan and continued his artistic creation, research, exhibitions and art reports at the same time. During that period, his creations gradually shifted from figurative to abstract, his creative media also changed from ink to oil, but the core of his artistic thinking remained oriental. After receiving his master's degree from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and returning to Taiwan, he began promoting and developing the concept of "breathing" in his artistic creations and as an artist, art critic and abstract art promoter, Liú has devoted himself to abstract art for over 20 years.
Concise color blocks, perfect arcs, and lively geometric patterns compose Liú's abstract paintings, establishing a distinctive visual language. These small, repeated arcs and curved line signify the abstraction of images from nature, suggesting actual physical objects such as hills, sheaves of grain, rivers, sails, windmills, the horizon line or stars. Yet these geometric forms are not meant to represent physical objects, but rather symbolize the myriad things of the universe, which also shows viewers an interface where the natural and spiritual realms can alternate. During an interview, Liú once said, “I want to create ambiguous forms, like semi-abstract shapes that are between abstract and figurative. My intention is to find a way to create forms that are beyond the geometrical dimension.”
In Liú's experiments with mixed media, he covers industrial produced lead foil with natural beeswax in many of his works, which, in contrast with the heaviness and blue-gray color of the lead, radiates a spirituality with its liquid, golden-yellow translucence. After the beeswax congeals on the lead foil, it produces a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't effect that renders the lead transparent through an alchemical transformation, while "Breathing" is expressed through rhythm and allows the viewer to clearly sense it in Liú's paintings.
"Liú Yung-jen Solo Exhibition - Deep Breathing Field" opens on April 21 at Powen Gallery. Viewers are invited to feel the expansion of arcs and contraction of straight lines in this lyrical space between inhaling and exhaling, and via their sympathetic response with Liú's paintings, regulated breathing and stress relief are achieved. This healing effect hastens viewers to enter a pure and simple state of mind and is the state that Liú seeks with his paintings.