For my solo exhibition Divine Inspiration, I had intended to show sixteen paintings made in 2007 and 2008. Generally speaking, I can divide these paintings into three categories: I made the first group of landscape paintings directly from nature over a period of time; the second group was painted after I turned my attention to my inner personal feelings, and painted odes to the qin, books or the moon; and the third group is of heavier, more moody and rocklikelike forms. All of the paintings illustrate hills and ponds, mountains and rocks with contrasting areas of clouds and mist running throughout, and are all ultimately visualizations of my inner spirit.
I have liked painting and drawing directly from nature for a long time. I always carry a sketch book and charcoal pencil so that when I encounter something, whether it is Taiwan's tall mountains and deep ravines, the forests or gardens of Mainland China or a scene in an enchanting little town when traveling in the West, I can sketch it on the spot. Drawing outdoors has given me two different experiences. The first is the feeling that nature possesses inexhaustible abundance, from its widely distributed vegetation to the earth's rocky crust and to its mutable clouds and mists. The second is that drawing from nature is a process like a dialog. Through thisdialog, I don't just paint the object that is in front of me, nor do I just paint what is in my mind; nature causes me to unconsciously paint unexpected compositions of landscapes and brush strokes, which don't arise when I am closed up in the studio. Examples include the painting A View from Huoran Pavilion which was made in Taroko National Park, and the powerful mountains in Towering, which were painted from the limestone rock formations in Guilin.
Landscapepainting has existed in our culture for a long time, and essentially is an ancient art form. For me, there are definitely some abstract aspects to Chinese landscape painting, such as the sum total of the painter's taste, temperament and thinking, and this is no different than how it was in ancient times. I enjoy reading, listening to music and operaon a daily basis. Reflecting on these cultural activities has perhaps always fostered the intellectual atmosphere surroundingmylandscape painting. I thought landscape painting can become a way for people to escape their everyday lives and find a haven from society, or serve as an ultimate place of refuge for their souls, and this is exactlybecause it refers to a place of unique beauty and charm that isn't of our world. Musicand Incenseare works which demonstrate this.
Furthermore, our lives are undergoing rapid change in these turbulent times. The disappointment that has accumulated over the years can sometimes be eased with Li Bai's lines “The warm spring invites us with misty landscapes, the nature provides us with lovely scenes,” and then other times I turn to drinking like Ruan Ji to dissipate my gloom. These works express my inner thoughts and feelings, my aspirations and the contours of my heart. The two unusual looking stones that merge into one piece in Rock V areanexample of this.
After I spent six years of my time on Family Storiesfrom 2002 to 2007, I continued by painting landscapes. After ten years of caring for my small child, we can finally ride our bicycles together and go on the little roads through the mountains. This has allowed me to rent a cabin as a studio near the ocean in Jinshan and re-inspire myself. So theselandscapepaintingreflected my real life and change of mind. It seems that Chinese landscape painting isn't just limited to scenery, but also reveals the individual spirit.