Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok is proud to announce the opening of a new group exhibition on June 23 entitled “Brushwork and True Feeling.” Curated by noted mainland Chinese curator Dai Zhuoqun, this exhibition features important works by eight key Chinese contemporary painters: Chen Yujun, Tang Yongxiang, Ma Ke, Qin Qi, Xu Xiaoguo, Xue Feng, Yin Chaoyu, and Zhang Yexing. The exhibition will present recent Chinese contemporary painting to Southeast Asia.
The distinctive quality of every painting is often the immediate reflection of the painter’s particular understanding of art and his physical and mental state in a specific time and place. In “Brushwork and True Feeling,” painting is delivered to the viewer in an exhibition. By looking, viewers enter a painter’s creation in reverse, glimpsing the idea in his heart through the visible strokes of the brush.
In confronting every painting, seeing figures full of divergent emotion and complexity is, for any viewer, like rashly charging into an obstacle-laden labyrinth. We need to steel our nerves, attempting to decipher and understand the clues hidden behind the image. The image may be chaotic and mixed, with layers of barriers, but the artist conceiving of the idea and moving the brush is itself a labyrinth. The artist moves in circles, wavering; sometimes merry, sometimes anxious, he moves forward and backward simultaneously, conveying true feeling with a heavy heart.
Whether beginning with figures or working in an abstract mode, the basic elements in a painting—points and lines, brushwork and structure, form and color, and even narrative content—represent the painter’s internalization and introspection of his ideas and experiences.
With what the eye sees, the viewer can only explore a way to access the artist through the surface of the image. Following the brush in his hand, the painter proceeds step by step to awaken his visual experience, studying and judging the skilled craftsmanship of the painting before our eyes. In spanning an eternal chasm between viewing and creating, all feedback from the viewer implies a misunderstanding of the creator; the gate of looking opens to the path of divergent emotions.
The path of divergent emotions encompasses the viewer’s misreading, as well as the creator’s misreading of himself. Painters and the ideas in their paintings are subjects and objects of subjective desire; a paradoxical topological relationship will always exist between creators and their aesthetic subjects. The subject constantly approaches the object, but it is always visible but never attainable, an object that can never be reached.
For painters, the ideal state is the unity of heart and idea and the unity of idea and brush. The brush sees with the spirit, but where does the spirit live? Shi Tao wrote, “The establishment of this one-stroke method creates a method out of no-method, and a method which covers all method. All painting comes from an understanding mind.” From brushwork to true feeling, the way of painting is the way of viewing.