At this summer’s beginning, Michael Ku Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of our latest group exhibition: Water.
Featuring work from artists Luo Jr-shin, Wei Jia, Chiang Hsun, Lao Lianben, and Jian Yi-Hong, the exhibition centers around water and its physical and metaphorical manifestations.
The painting Twelve Waters of the Southern Song Dynasty painter Ma Yuan (1160-1225) comes into mind. In the composition, calligraphic verses “waves upon waves” and “clouds unfurl as waves twirl” pronounce the physical properties of water. Another of Ma’s masterpieces Walking on a Mountain Path in Spring depicts a pair of birds on a weeping willow by a lake, momentarily “halting their songs to hide from passersby.” The tranquil waterside vignette reflects humankind’s internal longing for solitude.
Included in the exhibition are two of Wei Jia’s acrylic on canvas pieces: Untitled reveals two figures by a lush green pool walking into an unknown world, whereas Manneken Pis juxtaposes a stream of piss emerging from a cherub against a majestically chaotic landscape.
Luo Jr-shin’s Coconut Escape is a scrolling advertisement panel set near an artificially fragranced coconut air freshener. The panel’s poetic slogans written by the artist fantasize over a honeymoon escape by the beach.
Lao Lianben’s painting Monk’s Table bears the rhythmic marks of hemp ropes and crackling paint, its translucent gelled surface pale and clear like a pool of spring.
Jian Yi-Hong’s Gentle Breeze Over Pond renders a landscape rippled with water. Jian’s other sketches exhibit an undercurrent of love and lust that threaten to overwhelm like a tidal wave.
Chiang Hsun’s ink piece Cloud and Mountains marries mist and mountains in a pictorial embrace, and Landscape contemplates life’s transience while referencing the subdued style of the monk painter Jian Jiang (1610-1664) with light, elegant ink strokes.
As the anxiety brought by the coronavirus outbreak slowly subsides, the weather also clears to reveal rays of sun and delicate insect silk glistening breeze-bound in daylight. It is our hope that during this time of regeneration in the summer, work containing qualities of water in this exhibition will help welcome new possibilities in life.