Morlan Gallery Features Ink Brush Painting Exhibition

by Holly Brown

Morlan Gallery is currently showing the exhibition “Memories of the Past: Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting.” Having opened on Oct. 29, this exhibition will run through Nov. 30.

Described as “guohua” (national painting) and “shuimo hua” (ink painting), the use of ink as a medium has been a staple of traditional Chinese culture. However, this exhibit proves that this traditional art form certainly has its place in the modern era and can as easily fit into abstract styles as it can in the most classic, pastoral styles.
“ ‘Memories of the Past’ attempts to present the complex development of Chinese contemporary art and redefine the meaning of ‘contemporary’ in ink brush painting,” said Andrea Fisher, director of the Morlan Gallery. “By breaking our own visual misconceptions and boundaries about Chinese art we gain a clearer understanding of China — her art, (her) culture and her place on the international stage.”

The show itself features the work of 15 internationally known Chinese artists: Xu Bing, Pan Gongkai, Lu Fusheng, Wang Dongling, Zhang Yu, Wang Tiande, Qiu Deshu, Feng Bin, Xu Lei, Li Huayi, Zhang Hong, Wu Yi, Zheng Chongbin, Li Huai and Luo Qing. These artists hail from mainland China, the United States and Taiwan and all put their own signature on the ink painting tradition. The exhibit is being curated by the Asian art historian Dr. Kuiyi Shen.

Shen is the director of Chinese study programs and a professor of art history at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on contemporary and modern Chinese art and 20th-century Sino-Japanese cultural exchange.

“Art that takes ink as its medium is no longer a refuge for self-cultivation,” Shen said. “It is the same as other contemporary art forms facing various issues of human life, nature and society.”

Fisher specifically credits Transylvania art history professor Dr. Wei Lin for bringing the exhibit to the university.

“Dr. Lin is a scholar who specializes in Asian art history and has worked closely with Dr. Shen to bring these fifteen artists’ work to Lexington, Ky.,” said Fisher.
Transylvania has also hosted a few events in connection with the exhibit. On Monday there was an ink brush painting demonstration given by Chongbin, a Shanghai artist, and a lecture by Shen on contemporary Chinese artwork.

Members of the Transy community are encouraged to visit “Memories of the Past” any time during the Gallery’s operating hours. Additionally, students can see the exhibition in conjunction with other local exhibits during the next Lexington Gallery Hop. This event will take place on Nov. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.


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