left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Reinvigorating ink painting

Updated: 2013-03-29 09:52
By Caroline Berg in New York ( China Daily)

 Reinvigorating ink painting

Martha Sutherland of M. Sutherland Fine Arts Ltd points out the vibrant colors in this oil on canvas homage to Paul Cezanne's landscape art by Zhu Jinshi, on display for Asia Week New York. Caroline Berg / China Daily

Although China has a long tradition of ink painting, the medium was branded as feudal elitist during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), and shunned in favor of Western-style Social Realist oil painting techniques.

But champions of the ink art form are experiencing a renewed interest in the tradition, with a variety of contemporary examples on display during Asia Week New York in exhibitions at Sotheby's and Christie's, and in Chinese Abstraction Now, an exhibition at M. Sutherland Fine Arts gallery.

"We always had this idea of promoting newer ink paintings, because so much has changed in the last 20 to 30 years," says Carmen Shek, associate specialist in the Chinese paintings department at the Christie's based in Hong Kong. "There have been many innovations within the ink tradition, but it hasn't really had a platform to properly promote an exhibition."

Christie's will present Beyond Tradition: Chinese Contemporary Ink, an exhibition of 18 artworks by seven contemporary ink painters; while Sotheby's is hosting SHUIMO/Water Ink, which features 14 artists billed as representing a period of "bold renewal and reinterpretation", according to the auction house.

Martha Sutherland, the proprietor of the eponymous private by-appointment gallery, has represented Chinese ink painters since 1999, and has noticed a sudden shift toward private sales in Chinese contemporary ink in the past year.

Chinese Abstraction Now features four painters, including Liang Quan, Hai Tao, abstract oil painter Zhu Jinshi and the notoriously private Jia Youfu, with whom Sutherland developed a relationship during her years studying at Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s.

"When I walked into Jia Youfu's first solo show in 1988 (at the National Art Museum of China), I'd never seen any painting like this before," says the Kansas City native. "I just flipped out."

M. Sutherland is the sole gallery in the US representing Jia, according to Sutherland.


Cornering the market

Auction houses are opening galleries and organizing exhibitions and lectures to improve private sales, in an attempt to enhance their traditional business model. More...

Chinese fine art feels the pinch

The Chinese fine art market has run out of steam after three years of phenomenal growth, with sales at auction plummeting sharply in 2012. More...

Sotheby's Asian art sale moves into new territory

Falling sales paint a bleak picture for China's art market

Spring has yet to warm the hearts of China's auctioneers. Instead, a chill wind is blowing through the art market. In contrast to recent years, the spring auction season, which began in early February, has been a cause for concern rather than celebration. More...

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page