Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Motives of Lines, a solo exhibition by Chinese artist Huang Yuanqing (b. 1963) at the Pedder Building in Hong Kong, featuring a selection of paintings on canvas created in recent years. Huang's paintings explore the expressiveness of his calligraphic lines, in which each stroke is considered as an entity as well as a key component that composes the rhythm of the plane. Rather than 'paints', Huang 'writes' his paintings. In the continuous process of writing, covering, and rewriting, he refines the paradoxical balance and coexistence between calligraphy and painting, rice paper and canvas, confrontation and intimateness, spontaneity and constraint, traces and signs. To Huang, the ideal state of creation is to withdraw the artist himself from this freely flourishing forest of lines.
By shifting between painting on two very different materials, rice paper and canvas, Huang absorbs the experience of working with the complementary angles and cultures that are associated with the media. Rice paper allows Huang to keep both the vigorous psychic force of writing and the sensitive touch between brush and paper, which absorbs ink instantly, whereas canvas demands a direct, opposing pressure on the surface. In his nearly 30-year artistic career, he has practiced both calligraphy and painting, examining each discipline through the other's approach simultaneously. Over time, he has developed a cross-cultural perspective where he merges calligraphic characteristics into his painting process that synthesize perfectly with his appreciation of and insights into painting.
Born in Shanghai, Huang Yuanqing has been practicing Chinese calligraphy since his youth. He began creating modern calligraphy in the mid-80s with bold marks that resembled abstract brushstrokes in objection to traditional calligraphy's rules. After studying oil painting at Shanghai Normal University of Fine Arts between 1986-88, Huang created his first abstract painting in 1990 and has continued in this style ever since. After the mid-90s, Huang started to incorporate mixed media on rice paper in an attempt to combine his calligraphic experience with Western painting elements, while investigating painting from a calligraphic point of view. Many shapes constructed by lines on canvas were even inspired by signs found on script seals. Since 2010, as the artist effortlessly combined both calligraphy and painting, symbols disappeared into the picture and lines took on a more free and dynamic beat. Reading each stroke is like listening to the sound of different musical instruments—sometimes it is slow and resounding, yet at other times it is bright and clear. Looking at the whole painting, it is as if a symphony is playing in consonance. Under Huang's conducting, his paintings elicit the empathy of viewers, as their imaginations begin to soar between the abstract and the figurative.
The lines in Huang Yuanqing's paintings are derived from calligraphy, but they are neither confined to the forms nor the meaning of the scripts; likewise, the artist gradually removes any purpose from the control of his brush. Art critic Paul Moorhouse observes, "Rooted in the expressive vitality of calligraphy, yet liberated from the restrictions of symbolism, his art transcends concerns of technique and intention. Replacing those experiences, it aspires to that elusive state advocated by Zen teaching—an 'artless art'—the achievement of which yields expression beyond the merely subjective."
Even to this day, Huang continues to rewrite his paintings, a routine that reveals the artist's understanding of his artistic process: it is an approach that goes beyond one's personal experience and minimizes one's intervention. Expression becomes natural, eliminating the outcomes of mental control.
Press release courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.