The Art of War, an ancient military treatise composed of thirteen chapters, is traditionally attributed to the military strategist Sun Wu, and dated to the Late Spring and Autumn Period (771 – 476 BCE). While in antiquity, the text served as a primer for inspiring soldiers, it has expanded its influence into politics, economics, and commerce in modern times.
Wei Guangqing drew inspiration from Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) woodblock illustrations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, in which thirteen chapters and two additional portraits of Sun Wu and his disciple Sun Bin comprise a total of fifteen images. Wei highlights characters in bright colors, representative of his iconic Cultural Pop style, while juxtaposing the illustration against a dull grey chessboard background, in which the arrangements of the game pieces all result in a draw. Wei attracts further visual interest by applying varying thickness of paint on different color planes, creating an intricate relief effect.
Wei Guangqing’s Cultural Pop reexamines a classical text and reinterprets the value of traditional culture in a contemporary setting. In Wei’s Art of War, the composition is intelligently planned out and painting meticulously executed, in the fashion of a military exercise or a skillful game of chess. Ultimately, the viewer is invited to reflect on the ancient wisdom of the legendary Sun Tzu and find resonance in the strategy of their modern lives.
In recent years, the subject of Guo Kai’s landscape paintings has gradually transitioned, from the deconstruction and reconstruction of traditional architecture nestled within a natural landscape to the landscape itself, specifically mountains, and the visual and symbolic significance mountains hold. As an architecture professor at Hefei University of Technology, Guo often accompanies students to draw from life from the abundance of heritage architecture in the southern regions of Anhui province. However, in recent years, the classic motifs of Chinese architecture, such as curving rooflines and grand archways seldom appear on his canvases, and are instead replaced with increasing abstract ensembles of mountains, from life drawing trips that he takes alone deep in the reaches of famous mountains like the Yellow Mountain. In terms of composition, the absence of a formal subject allows him to take complete and personal command of the canvas, where the faint contours of mountains become an elegant system of the artist’s symbols and gestures. With his muted palette and images frozen in time, this shift in subject has given Guo Kai a sense of belonging or attachment at the very heart of traditional Chinese landscape painting – the mountains.
Yi Art Institute 3F, Elephant Duo Art District, Lvzhoudong Road, Shushan District, Hefei August 8 – September 7, 2020 Reception: Saturday, August 8, 3:00 pm Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Gallery Touring Exhibition January 9 – March 9, 2021 Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tzeng Yong-ning, The Flower of Plenary 05, 2019 - 2020
Tzeng Yong-ning, The Flower of Plenary 06, 2019 - 2020
Passing Landscapes not only expands on established series, but also develops two new ones, Landscape – Uphill and Landscape – Circuit. Regardless of belonging to new or old series, all works are rich in subject matter and exceptional in execution. New works from the Bloom series have new blossoms of creativity; new Swaying Flowers are brighter and more colorful; and new works from the gold-foiled The Flower of Plenary have expanded on the central circular motif into more elaborate compositions, while retaining the strong visual impact of the gold-foil.
Landscape – Uphill feature an ensemble of bizarre shapes stacked on top of each other, in which the title Uphill suggests movement and sense of growth. Landscape – Circuit is inspired by a sub-genre of painting in the early Song Dynasty called Small Scenery Painting (xiao jing). At a more intimate scale, more attention is given to detail, where each and every detail is intertwined and tightly knit into the overall composition, and the sense of movement appears to flow in a continuous array of lines and circles; hence the name Circuit.
October 10 – December 12, 2020 Hours: 2:00 – 6:00 pm
In Tzeng Yong-ning’s gold-foiled The Flower of Plenary series, a large circle dominates the composition, and is in turn filled with countless smaller circles, of various patterns, colors, sizes. Packed together tightly, there is a sense of unity and harmony, due to the fact that all the individuals are grouped together in a comprehensive whole. Yet, each circle is lively and energetic, seemingly expanding outwards, floating upwards, or squeezing each other. Encompassed in a field of gold, the large circle embodies a solemn planet, sitting scared and elegant in the serenity of space.
October 5 – December 7, 2019 Reception: Saturday, October 5, 4:00 pm Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00 – 6:00 pm
In the 1980s, as a student at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, Wang Yigang began his pursue for individuality and self-expression, and adopted Western Modernism in retaliation against conservative art education. After ten years of experimentation with different styles, Wang favored German Expressionism by the early 1990s, which he studied, experimented, but ultimately rejected. By the late 1990s; however, Japanese Post-war art movements caught his attention, particularly Mono-ha and Gutai, which drew upon and expressed Eastern culture on the basis and success of Western Modernist modes. This prompted Wang to revisit Eastern culture, especially Buddhist Chan (Zen) philosophy, which redirected his struggle for individuality toward self-understanding. In this awakening, his internal struggle transformed from against the society to the self, and in self-criticism, he found an abandonment of all conventional painting practices and discovered new meaning purely in the movements of his body during the act of painting. In this way, every artwork became a record of his movements through space and time.
From experimentation, rejection, to self-awareness, Wang Yigang’s art transcends the painterly image, rejects all conventional practices, and ultimately goes Beyond Abstraction.
May 5 – June 2, 2018 Reception: Saturday, May 5, 3:00 pm Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Pine smoke ink, famous throughout China, is a type of precious inkstick made from pine soot, or the deposition of smoke particles from burning pinewood. Xue Song, who is named after the great pines (song in Chinese) of Yellow Mountain, begins his collages by burning printed images, in which the ashes are collected and mixed into his paint; this artistic practice and synthetic medium can be regarded as a new Pine Smoke Ink.
Since the late 1990s, Xue Song has made extensive use of traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting, either as ready-made images for his burnt collage, or as classical themes to be reinvented in a contemporary context. Although his practice is derived from Pop Art, it carries a profound sense of Chinese culture and the spirit of ink painting. The artistic practice of Pine, Smoke, Ink opens a new chapter in genre of Modern Ink.
As Xiong Wei’s mind wonders deeply into the realm of metaphysics, in either Chan (Zen) Buddhist teachings of Emptiness or Taoist Non-action, her landscapes transcend into total abstraction and brutal minimalism. All forms of traditional symbolism and linear representation is forgotten and left behind. There is only evidence of space and time, left by the artist’s brush. While the formal qualities of her so-called landscapes have dramatically changed, the spirit behind the image remains unaltered. Like Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) artists, Xiong Wei seeks to address philosophical concerns within the boundaries of her canvas, in which the painted image appears as enigmatic as that of the ancients before her, leaving only traces of her mind to be deciphered.
June 3 – July 1, 2017 Reception: Saturday, June 3, 3:00 pm Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Liu Kuo-sung, A Man of East, West, South, and North, 2016
Liu Kuo-sung, White Snow is White, 2016
Liu Kuo-sung, Cliffs, Rocks, Mist, 2016
Liu Kuo-sung, Loftiness, 2016
Liu Kuo-sung, Universe in My Mind, 2016
Liu Kuo-sung, Quiet Night, Snowy Mountain, 2016
Loftyart Gallery is proud to finally present the third series of Liu Kuo-sung Prints. Featuring lithography, woodblock, etching, and silkscreen printmaking, in a set of ten prints, this is the final series in Loftyart’s autographed handmade limited edition prints by Liu Kuo-sung. Since working with Liu on the first two series, the printmakers have further perfected their techniques and took on greater technical challenges in the third.
As the last and final series, Loftyart Gallery has worked together tirelessly, making the best finishing touches to this monumental project. In terms of the initial section of images, Loftyart Gallery selected from Liu Kuo-sung’s long and impressive oeuvre, most important and defining artworks, many of which belong in museum collections. The images are then recreated with the distinct painterly qualities of printmaking, while faithfully preserving the spirit of Liu’s original artwork.
The art of Liu Kuo-sung’s prints not only lies in the greatness of the original composition, but also in the distinct characters of printmaking incorporated by the printmakers, in their artful recreation the artworks. Visiting the printmaking studio time and time again in the last three years, Liu Kuo-sung’s kind guidance, thoughtful demonstration, and warm communication with the printmakers, making corrections and additions on every test run, has given Loftyart Gallery the pleasure and honor to produce three outstanding series of autographed handmade limited edition prints, ultimately setting new standards in the field of contemporary printmaking, as well as promoting Liu Kuo-sung’s spirit and contributions in Modern Ink Painting.
Liu Kuo-sung, Chiang Li-hsiang, Hsu Hisu-lan, Wu Pui-wah December 31, 2016 – January 28, 2017
Liu Kuo-sung, High Noon, 2015
Liu Kuo-sung, Roof of the World, 2014
Chiang Li-hsiang, Andante Cantabile, 2015
Chiang Li-hsiang, Feeling of Fall, 2016
Chiang Li-hsiang, Leisurely Flight, 2016
Hsu Hsiu-lan, Song of Cold Mountain No. 86, 2016
Hsu Hsiu-lan, Sound of Water No. 32, 2016
Hsu Hsiu-lan, Song of Cold Mountain No. 88, 2016
Wu Pui-wah, Leaping of White Lines Series No. 79, 2016
Wu Pui-wah, Leaping of White Lines Series No. 73, 2013
In 1957, Liu Kuo-sung founded the Fifth Moon Painting Group in Taiwan, to promote Modern Art and the modernization of Ink Painting. Due to his effort to revitalize traditional Chinese painting, Liu has since been honored as the Father of Modern Ink Painting.
For the second annual Ink Asia, Loftyart Gallery proudly presents From the Fifth Moon Rising – New Ink Painting in Taiwan, featuring in addition to Liu Kuo-sung, three of his proud students, Chiang Li-hsiang, Hsu Hsiu-lan, and Wu Pui-wah. Inspired by Liu Kuo-sung’s leadership in the Modern Ink Painting movement, the trio sought his tutelage and dedicated themselves to the cause. Despite sharing the same teacher, each student have developed her own personal style: Chiang Li-hsiang’s rhythmic juxtaposition of white and black lines reflect optic phenomenons; Hsu Hsiu-lan’s command of techniques such as rubbing and staining brilliantly outlines mountain ranges through solids and voids; Wu Pui-wah’s effective use of Liubai or negative space and subtle transitions of colors reflect her keen understanding of the four seasons.
In addition, the exhibition features Liu Kuo-sung’s autographed handmade limited edition prints produced by Loftyart, in woodblock, etching, lithography and silkscreen prints. These handcrafted prints are not only state of the art in terms of printmaking itself, they also brilliantly capture and recreate the spirit of Liu’s original artworks.
In observing Guo Kai’s paintings, the exquisite brushstrokes, graceful curving lines, elongated horizontal movements, and seemingly monochrome colors constitute a personal and elegant landscape. The tranquil atmosphere presented by his paintings, allows the mind of the viewer to quickly settle, and thereby invites the viewer to enter the scenery of the painted image, into the midst of the gentle sun, the misty air, the freshness of fields, and the temporality of historic buildings. The ability of creating such a vivid experience for the viewer lies in Guo Kai’s carefully articulated images, his unique interpretation of color, and his proficiency with brushwork and the application of texture, as well as the deconstruction and reconstruction of architecture within the landscape.
Guo Kai’s genres of painting can be identified as pastoral landscapes and architecture. He implements animated organic lines and intentional artificiality to create an individualistic and highly distinguishable mode of landscape painting. Under Guo’s brush, the animated lines seem to have an inherent will of their own, spreading sporadically across the canvas, leaving a sense of energy and dynamic movement in the composition. The source of the energy comes from the subject matter itself, that is the natural scenery, embodied in the grass, flowers, and trees, and more the notion alludes to a core value in traditional Chinese landscape painting.
Unveiling the layers of meaning behind Guo Kai’s works, one discovers a sense of timelessness in his less-than-figurative portrayal of pastoral landscapes and architecture, as well as his sentiments on the state of being of these subjects. These carefully articulated images, ridden of all traces of human presence, ultimately reveal Guo Kai’s idealized inner state of mind.