Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chinese Painting at AIC - June 2014

Chen Wu,  Orchids, 1832

With such a common name, it's impossible to  find this artist on the internet.

Which is another reason the museum should re-consider devoting an informational  website to its rotating exhibitions of Chinese painting.

This quarterly iteration of the small gallery is devoted to botanicals.

I wouldn't mind seeing an exhibit of just orchid paintings,
but there might not be enough in the museum's collection.

Chen Jiayan (born 1539),  1625

Obviously this 86 year old artist had aged quite well - still putting out a fresh green sprout every day

Xia Chang (1388-1470), Bamboo covered stream in spring rain, 1441

This is but one small section of a 50-foot scroll
painted in honor of a friend's bamboo grove.

According to the Met's website,
he was a high court official and  the leading bamboo painter of his time

Unfortunately, the museum's cases cannot accommodate a scroll that long.
We'll have to wait another three or four years to see another six-foot section.

I get a strong feeling of water rushing past
in this area of detail

Ni Zan (1301 - 1374)
"Poetic thoughts in a Forest Pavilion", 1371

The inscription reads:

In a forest pavilion, bamboo and trees give thickly overlapping shade.
Seeking friends crying "ying" - I too am fond of music.

Reciting to strings  (of the qin zither), scholars
are gathered and  seated from time to time.
In this district, Master Fu had only to play the qin.

On the 23rd day of the seventh month,
 I sketched this painting of Poetic Thoughts in a Forest Pavilion
and wrote the poem in
order to leave it behind for the multi-talented Youxin.

Extensive biographies on the internet would lead me to believe that this is one of the Art Institute's most important Chinese paintings, done in the early years of the Ming Dynasty by an artist who grew up in the Yuan (Mongolian) Dynasty.

Apparently his wealthy family gave him a good education, but civil unrest made him flee his home district and wander throughout southern China earning a living by selling his unconventional paintings.


I found the painting as a whole to be just too weird.
The sizes of the tree and rock are somewhat disturbing.
But as the artist wrote:

“I use bamboo painting to write out the exhilaration in my breast, that is all.
Why should I worry whether it shows likeness or not?”

On the other hand,
I love some areas of detail.





Blogger marly youmans said...

Enjoyed that little exhibit, Chris--and I thought of you and your freewheeling opinions, seeing these:

August 18, 2014  
Blogger chris miller said...

Harumph to the frogmen!

The best thing about installations of contemporary sculpture is that usually they're temporary.

August 18, 2014  
Blogger marly youmans said...

Hah, hah! I thought of little red frogs also... They need some children playing leapfrog, though.

August 19, 2014  

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