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Wang Tiande
NanHai Art, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by DeWitt Cheng

Wang Tiande, "Houshan Revolve MOTH 0173," 2016, rubbings, xuan paper, ink, burn marks, 83 7/16 x 22 13/16"

Continuing through October 15, 2016

Contemporary Chinese painter Wang Tiande, born in 1960, with a PhD in Calligraphy and now living in Shanghai writes: “The value system of traditional landscape painting is obvious. We need not deny it. It exists. But our lifestyle and artistic discourse must be contemporary. These two layers, put together, will produce a new aesthetic experience.”

Wang’s current show, entitled "Literati Gathering," invokes the landscape painting school that developed in his hometown of Suzhou during the Ming Dynasty, a tradition based on subjective interpretation of the motif rather than objective description. The literati painters were cultivated in both calligraphy and poetry, and painted for themselves and cultivated friends rather than a wider audience. Wang’s “Houshan" series builds on the classical tradition but filters it through a contemporary experimental sensibility. The works are composed of two layers of traditional xuan paper: the lower, background layer is executed in the traditional style; the upper, front layer is perforated by burn marks (made with incense stick and perhaps flammable inks or paints), so that the landscapes and inscription beneath are only partially visible; the works are thus metaphors for how we perceive the past — i.e., imperfectly, and sometimes vertiginously. Perhaps, by extension, it’s how we perceive everything.

“Pine Landscape” is in the style of the literati painter Cao Zhibo (1272-1355), and synthesizes Yuan literati landscape with Tang and Song blue-green style and Ming Wu school brushwork. “Autumn Mountains” is a reconstruction of a recorded painting by the Yuan master Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) combining the restrained brushwork of Yuan literati painting with the dramatic compositions popular in the 1930s landscape revival.

NanHai Art

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