Out of Ink

Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art
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Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art explored the essential ideals of the ink painting tradition as manifest in the work of 13 contemporary artists at work in China. Their art does not necessarily rely upon conventional materials – ink, paper, or brush – but encapsulates the cultural spirit of ink. The experimental forms of expression that underscores their practice are a prism through which to understand how artists are rethinking the conventions of ink to forge new ties to the present cultural context, and enrich this weighty tradition in the process. The exhibition curated by Karen Smith echoed content familiarly seen in ink painting, such as landscapes or natural forms, as single or juxtaposed elements from the natural world, as well as the role of calligraphy. These revealed the spirit of ink, a core value that is its most enduring esoteric quality, yet, none of the artists presented here claim to be ink artists. Instead they work with, appropriate, manipulate, or deconstruct, the spiritual and aesthetic ethos of “ink” as cultural metaphor, philosophical system, and as understanding of relationship between man and the physical world of form and space. In their respective ways, each artist makes a contribution to the future possibilities of a medium that has been the dynamic pulse of the nation’s culture through China’s long civilization. The exhibition catalogue presents two articles, which provide different perspectives on the tradition of ink and its contemporary reflections. The curator of the exhibition Karen Smith’s essay on the role of ink in contemporary artists’ production contextualizes the works in the exhibition. Beth McKillop presents an extensive historical background of ink in China. The following section about the artists features detailed information about the works in the exhibition.

Publication Date: 2019
Number of Pages: 159
ISBN: 978-605-4642-85-4

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