Deng Guo Yuan: Ink Painting In The 21st Century
The Warehouse Gallery
November 17, 2011 – February 18, 2012
In 2000, Chinese–born and Tianjin–based artist Deng Guo Yuan turned towards ink painting, one of the most enduring Chinese art forms practiced for over a thousand years. Though he was initially trained as an oil painter, Deng Guo Yuan also began creating sculptures and installations that both pay respect to traditions in Chinese art and incorporate elements of Western aesthetics. The international nature of Deng Guo Yuan’s art is thus evident early on in his career, and his early twenty-first century work with ink painting is also to be understood in this vein: as a continuation of a major tradition in Chinese art with an eye toward innovations infused with the concerns of other nations and cultures.
Despite Deng’s stating he is an abstract painter, his work also often verges on the figurative. Thus, the titles of many of his works allude to man–made, cultivated or recreated landscapes. For instance, the series In the Garden (2006) reveals varied depths and perspectives that are entirely due to Deng’s brushstroke—one of the significant aspects of traditional Chinese painting that evolved from calligraphy. In the Garden can also refer to the so-called mind landscape paintings (produced by scholar-artists during the Mongol Yuan dynasty) in which the garden is an extension of the artist.
His exhibition at the Warehouse Gallery includes more than 20 ink paintings and one site-specific sculpture that were first on view at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Tianjin, China. The film Deng Guo Yuan (2010) by French filmmaker Pierre Creton, as presented in the Warehouse Gallery’s vault, meticulously documents the creation of one of Deng Guo Yuan’s ink paintings in his Tianjin studio. Widely exhibited in China and Europe, this will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. The show originated at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum, and then traveled in modified form to the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pa.), to the Provenance Center (New London, Ct.) and to its last venue, the Warehouse Gallery, for which Deng created additional site-specific works.