Bingyi’s ink works plumb extremes of scale, from minutely brushed fan-sized paintings, to works boldly splashed across paper-covered stretches of a mountain road. Executed in ever-changing boldly idiosyncratic styles, her works show a sensitivity for nature and for social conditions.
Liu Dan 刘丹 (b. 1953)
Liu Dan’s paintings of rocks and landscapes reflect an accord with early, more basic or “pure” eras of artistic expression in both East and West, and express a personal understanding of natural forces whereby the macrocosm is fully expressed through reduplication of the microcosmic.
Xu Bing 徐冰 (b. 1955)
Having achieved broad international recognition for his works in a multitude of media, Xu Bing returns repeatedly to ink. For his Landscript series, he renders landscapes using Chinese characters, finding that the evolution of his brushwork reflects the development of brushwork in Chinese art.
Yang Jiechang 杨诘苍 (b. 1956)
Now a prominent, Paris-based representative of China’s artistic diaspora, Yang Jiechang is proficient in ink wash painting, gongbi (fine line), and calligraphy. Yang’s painting is particularly significant in its rare expression of radical thought via masterful manipulation of traditional media.
"I like to find elements of opposition within the beauty, to express a different type of beauty."
Zheng Chongbin 郑重宾 (b. 1961)
In his practice, Zheng Chongbin has extended the possibilities of ink, and incorporated a new expression of depth and structure into ink painting. His powerful abstract paintings and installations make a compelling case for the future internationalism of ink painting.
"Shall we continue the abstract paintings? Or minimalist paintings? There’s other new kinds of painting.... I am interested more in that. I want to change how people are seeing [ink media]. I want to prove that painting has a much farther way to go."
Chen Haiyan 陳海燕 (b. 1955)
Whether paintings or woodcuts, style and medium fuse seamlessly in the expression of Chen Haiyan’s subject matter. This consists of narratives from her dream diaries illustrated with an unparalleled emotional directness, fusing traditional elite aesthetics with a robust vernacular quality.
"All this pent-up energy emanating from within. I am striving to express my deep personal thoughts, then shift them to a different temporal space."
"I have a lot of dream diaries, dating all the way back to 1981. They're a constant source of creative inspiration."
Cui Zhenkuan 崔振宽 (b. 1935)
Cui Zhenkuan belongs to an older generation of ink painters who received rigorous traditional training. Innovating within that tradition, he has produced a powerful body of landscapes relevant to the present.
"One paints from within one’s heart, painting the meaning of the object . . . In this way the brush and ink are liberated."
"There are many subtle qualities to Chinese painting, many ideas to express. But these ideas can only be implied, not directly spoken."
Wang Dongling 王冬龄 (b. 1945)
While Wang Dongling is China’s top traditional-style calligrapher, he is also the artist who has most successfully explored calligraphy’s radical possibilities, to the point of forging a new branch of ink painting based on the abstract possibilities of the calligraphic line.
Li Huasheng 李华生 (b. 1944)
In 1989 Li Huasheng turned from the distinctive style of landscape painting for which he was widely known, to the creation of pure abstractions. Producing grids of meticulously inscribed lines that record the passage of time, his new mode of creativity emphasizes process rather than finished work.
"Time represents the preciousness of every person’s existence. Our life is inter-connected with the concept of time. "Ahh, so many people do not understand. But you understand, you have come to seek me. You understand the depth of this simple message. The process of our lives is time. And this line, as we travel this line . . . . There is also something important to me. I am preserving this time. I am living my life, painting my lines, recording my personal time."
Li Jin 李津 (b. 1958)
Li Jin’s idiosyncratic painting manner is founded in superlative brushwork, and based in a key tenet of Chinese painting: in rendering a subject, such as a dish of food or quirky figure, accuracy depends on close observation and understanding, not a direct copying of the subject’s outer likeness.
"The highest quality of Chinese ink painting requires a natural quality, a personal feeling. And the ability to transpose oneself into the painting. A sense of logic that is not visible to others. I feel that this is the highest achievement."
"The most liberating aspect of ink painting is the concept of extraction. There is the suggestion of the image, what we call realism. The feeling is like real. But when it comes time to paint each dish, to have the feeling of likeness is not enough."