Current Exhibition

Themes and Variations

27 Jun - 23 Aug  |  2024
Hung FaiHung KeungLee Chun-yiLin GuochengLok YitongPan, Ren LightTai XiangzhouTongson WesleyWai Pong YuWang MengshaWang TiandeWei LigangZhang XiaoliZhang YirongZhang Ying
Opening Reception  |  25 July, Thursday, 6-8pm  |  New York Gallery
Rotation 1: 6/27 – 7/23
Rotation 2: 7/24 – 8/23
Opening reception: Thursday June 27th, 6-8pm
Second reception: Thursday July 25th, 6-8pm

Alisan Fine Arts New York is pleased to announce the opening on June 27th of Themes and Variations, featuring the work of 15 artists who explore the use of Chinese Ink within their practice. The exhibition includes work by Hung Fai, Hung Keung, Lee Chunyi, Lin Guocheng, Lok Yitong, Ren Light Pan, Tai Xiangzhou, Wesley Tongson, Wang Mengsha, Wang Tiande, Wai Pongyu, Wei Ligang, Zhang Xiaoli, Zhang Ying and Zhang Yirong.

Signs and Symbols
Bird-and-flower painting is a longstanding traditional subject in Chinese art, often used as symbols of human virtues such as resilience and beauty, and even political authority. Artists Zhang Yirong and Lee Chun-yi continue this tradition, Zhang in her detailed, gongbi style of painting and Lee in a more nuanced manner with his method of stamping paper with hand-carved seals. Symbols and Iconography appear throughout China’s artistic tradition; Wei Ligang and Zhang Ying incorporate scholar rocks into their compositions, objects of contemplation and self-cultivation; and Lin Guocheng draws inspiration from the Three Star Mound, a majestic ancient burial site in Sichuan, China. Lin sets imagery from the site against a pixelated background, seeking a dialogue between contemporary digital world and his historical roots.

Spiritual Landscapes
Landscape, a traditional theme in Chinese ink painting, has historically focused less on realistic depiction and more on conveying spiritual resonance and reflecting the artist's state of mind and personality. The artists in this group push this concept further, into areas of identity, as in Ren Light Pan’s ink-transfers of female clothing and Hung Fai’s Vessel, which explores the relationship between mother and son. Wesley Tongson’s Spiritual Mountain series takes its inspiration from many forms of devotion, from the teachings of Buddhism, Daoism, and Christianity to references to the natural world, and he takes the spectacular leap from the brush to using his fingers to apply his ink. Wang Tiande’s work also eschews the brush, using of incense sticks to create burn marks on layered rice paper, to create his traditional landscapes and calligraphy. Abstract ‘landscapes’ are also included in this section. Tai Xiangzhou’s Propitious Rock from Heaven is a rumination on the Cosmos; Wai Pong Yu’s A Rhythm of Landscape series focuses on the act of creation, using a pen to draw ink lines across paper until it frays and rips.

Poetry and Painting
Poetry, calligraphy and portraying life have long been important themes in the history of literati painting. The artists in this room take different contemporary approaches to this tradition – Lok Yitong takes a visual interpretation to traditional poetry, using repetitive abstract forms that recall the rhythm of the verses, and then weaving calligraphy into the compositions. Wang Mengsha is known for her ‘Xieyi’ style of paintings, where she recontextualizes imagery from traditional paintings of court maidens and ancient scenes of everyday life. In contrast is the stoic, defined work of Zhang Xiaoli, whose Box with Multiple Openings houses the elements of wind, fire and water. Also included is a video piece and accompanying print by Hung Keung. The piece depicts mist, flowers, charcoal, and rice paper transitioning from vibrancy to decay through ink variations. The dancing Chinese characters respond to these subtle changes, suggesting the relationship between the nature and the passage of time.

Themes and Variations will be shown in two rotations, with the first on view from June 27th – July 23rd, and the second from July 24th - August 23rd. Please join us for the opening receptions on June 27th and July 25th, from 6-8pm.