Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chinese landscape paintings

I've been meaning to post this since last week, but then the sunny long weekend happened and this got pushed aside. Now that I see big rain clouds in the sky, I want to talk about the exhibit of Chinese landscape paintings at the AGGV.
I've never really been able to engage with Chinese painting before. I think this is due not only to my nose-down-in-Western-Art-history upbringing, but also because I wasn't sure on how to "read" them. Up until last year, I wasn't aware of other concepts of "space" in painting other than the fixed point of view of Renaissance paintings and the push and pull space of abstraction. I stumbled onto a couple of documentaries on David Hockney on youtube where he talks about painting that goes beyond the singular view of the photographic eye. I liked this idea and began exploring it in my own work (to varying degrees of failure ;)) and now I feel like my mind is more attuned to this way of seeing the world: moving focus.
I think this opening up of my own perception of space is what allowed me to get into the works on display at the AGGV. I was looking at them not only with the idea of moving focus in my mind, but also as a painter making marks on a flat surface.

I found the exhibit quite exhilarating and as I was leaving the gallery, I could see motifs for Chinese landscape painting everywhere I looked.

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