An Ink Trio of Abstraction

Mo Chen

张隆\John Long was born in Chengdu, Sichuan in 1961 and grew up in Kunming, Yunnan. During his early career years, John Long was caught attention in 1985 as the organizer of “The New Representational Image Exhibition” [新具像画展],an influential exhibition in the history of Chinese contemporary art, and it was a part of the famous ’85 New Wave movement [85新潮]. Later in 1986, Long and his fellow artists 张晓刚Zhang Xiaogang, 叶永青Ye Yongqing, 毛旭晖Mao Xuhui, 潘德海Pan Dehai established the Southwestern Art experimental Group [西南艺术研究群体],an avant-garde art community in southwest China. Long’s radical social and artistic activities were not tolerated by the authority, as a result he was put into prison for crime of “bourgeois liberalization”[资产阶级自由化] in 1988. Long was able to continue his art practice in the prison, and soon after his release in 1991, he curated a big event of performance art Interpretation of Apple [苹果的阐释]in Shanghai. Many leading artists based in Shanghai participated that event to show their supports. Long migrated to US in 1993, and he is currently living and working between Los Angeles and Hangzhou China.


Water and Stone 002 by 张隆 Zhang Long, 2016

Water and Stone 0001
by 张隆 Zhang Long, 2015

In Long’s early career, he admired Paul Klee’s work of obstruction up on which he developed his own personal language that concentrate on the relationship of line, space, form and color, and then his practice was mostly Oil/multi-medium on canvass. His recent series of works, especially for this show, Long changed his medium to ink/watercolor. Continuing his early interest in line and space, Long also enjoys the rhythm of the calligraphic marks and he indulges himself in the subtle touching of ink on the paper.

张朝晖\Zhang Zhaohui is a scholar, writer, and artist based in Beijing. He was born in Beijing in 1965. Zhang received a systematic art education that includes a BA degree in museology and art history from Nankai University in Tianjing, a MA from China Art Academy in Beijing and a MA of curatorial studies in contemporary art from Bard College NYC, and from 2003 to2006, a PhD program at the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing. Zhang worked as a curator in his early career, for various museums and galleries. In the last decade, Zhang switched the focus to his own artistic development, practicing ink painting on paper.

dream of starlight by 张朝晖 Zhang Zhao Hui

Zhang believes that the evolution of the Chinese contemporary ink art has to build on the tradition of Chinese ink painting and Chinese philosophy, while at same time it has to embrace the pluralism established in the evolution history of western modern art. Particularly fascinated by conceptual minimalism masters such as Agnes Martin and Sol Lewitt, he developed his signature style that not only celebrates the materiality of ink and wash on paper, but also simulates light and space by mimicking the mechanic movements of brushes during the process. The final image is both abstract and representational, haunting on the thin edge between image and process. Painting to Zhang is an exercise of both his rational reasoning and his emotions, and he strives to reach a perfect balance. His recent works emphasize the beauty of the materiality while keep minimizing and refining strokes. At the end, each single stroke serves simultaneously as a shape and a gesture.

张朝晖 2
chaotic moonlight by 张朝晖 Zhang Zhao Hui

了了\Liao Liao was born in Sichuan China in 1973, he is an ink artist based in Shanghai. He is the editor in chief for the National Art Magazine, and an aspiring curator who has evolved a number of contemporary ink art activities national wide. He started his ink practice by exploring the traditional ink painting such as flower-bird-painting 花鸟画 and landscape painting山水画. After decades of practicing in traditional style, he has moved away from traditional realism , and reached a new destiny – ink abstraction. In his recent works, the medium of the ink appears a rich treatment resembling a loosen landscape of snow scenery in which many ancient messages are hiding in oracle bone script scattered in the composition. As an artistliving in the 21st century China, Liao Liao inherits the aesthetics and skills of literati painting 文人画, yet in the meantime reinterprets the ancient literati spirit with a contemporary innovation.

Untitled by 了了 Liao Liao

by 了了 Liao Liao

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