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Directory Of Year 2006, Issue 12
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A Poetic Casting of Ink and Wash

Year:2006 Issue:12


Author: Xu Encun

Release Date:2006-12-01

Page: 74-77

Full Text:  

Feng Yuan

Feng Yuan

In the history of painting and the broader world of art, the term "modern consciousness" to some extent means "development." A trend to modern consciousness brings new change, the conception of unique qualities and a breaking away from obsolete traditions. The breakthrough may be limited to a certain sub-genre at inception, but with accumulating change across a broad spectrum a qualitative change may occur. It was in accordance with this general premise that Feng Yuan's new and unique style of wash painting came to be.

Since the 1980s, Feng, while respecting tradition, has endeavored to enter into a broad reality in transcending narrow-minded indifference and simplicity. In his work one can perceive the painter making full use of the flexibility of ink to return his form of artistic expression to the essence of traditional Chinese culture, while establishing his particular style and language.

His paintings, March of Volunteers, Shames of Motherland in 100 Years, History. Creation, Bewilderment, Sounds of Nature. Soul of the Han, to name just a few, are evidence of his refined expressive abilities within the scope of given materials and within the limited space. Perhaps most impressive is that the traditional formula of ink and wash becomes less important in his work, and instead there is a melding of the spiritual and the poetic. Through his mediums, this amalgamation emanates a spontaneous strength and collisional power.

His brush flows freely as an extension of his mind. In Bewilderment, the hardship of the spiritual emancipation of human beings and their philosophical quest for the future are expressed through heavy and harsh lines and a black and changing smoke wash. Ink is splashed to project an exaggerated theme.

Feng has established his own artistic style and taste integrating features of traditional Chinese ink painting with aspects of Western art. These qualities are especially evident in his work based on historical subjects. Maintaining the beauty of forms, the composition of black and white and the flexibility of traditional ink and wash, he melds aesthetic elements of Western art; such as shape and structure. Impressive for their powerful sweep, his blend adds a solemn touch, and places him within modern Chinese painting circles as a painter of unique qualities.

Feng's style results from a drive to overcome the formulism and abstraction tendency of the traditional Chinese ink and wash, that is regarded as running counter to the essential aesthetic traits. To his wash paintings, Feng also adds the element of ideas, especially the philosophical, historical and humanistic qualities. These traits incline to the sober and grave.

Standing before one of Feng's paintings, one feels his artistic inspiration, the ability to create and his untiring efforts in "converting" the formalism and abstraction of the traditional ink and wash. This represents a major change and evolution in modern Chinese ink and wash. Feng's creative wash paintings show the vigor of our time, while embodying the spirit of traditional Chinese art. They are solemn and yet full of movement.

Like the best of any art, Feng's wash paintings show a spiritual depth and a broad aesthetic space with much spiritual meaning. He believes that the culture of humans, whether East or West, whether today or yesterday, is enduring.

Based on this view, he suggests that artists should create following traditional wisdom, while showcasing their newly-developed, unique and personal features.

Perhaps it is this unique aesthetic viewpoint, poetic ways of expression, the calm awareness of existence and a special insight that enabled Feng to break through the obsolete formality and narrow space, to finally enter into a more academic and spirited world of ink and wash.

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