Born 1962, China
Lives and works Hobart
Represented by nanda\hobbs
19 March — 28 March 2020
Vast swathes of paint flow over Chen Ping’s canvas. The oil paint stands high—rich and viscous—gestures trail off blending with other marks and colours. The power of the artist's hand pervades the paintings in his latest exhibition, Muse and Mountain. At its heart, the works bring to a crescendo the artist’s ability to imagine, create and morph old and new ideas from different cultures and times.
Chen’s methodology has automation about it. His hand constantly moving between marks—his energetic mind evaluating the tonal value of his paint application. The composition is pushed and pulled as relationships between forms emerge.
The mountain landscape of his adopted Tasmania informs the artist—not necessarily in a direct way—rather as the catalyst for him to enter a more spiritual world. The tonality provides the ideal backdrop for Chen’s Dadaesque storytelling to thrive. Allegorical tales are drawn from ancient Eastern and Western mythology that morph with the artist’s own imagined relationships between the natural and human worlds. The powerful layering of lines in black reference the traditional Chinese ink painters of the last millennium.
It is important to understand that Chen's narrative is not literal, nor is it rationally linear. It doesn’t need to be. The abstract qualities inherent in the work extend past the pictorial surface and into a more ethereal place of the mind. There is a freedom in his painting that invites us to explore the non-rational world, and in doing so, possibly find new ways to live and think.
The fabric of Chen’s new mythology transcends time. He draws on how we interact and live. Thematically, these ideas are more important and poignant than ever before. The artist is, in effect, providing us with a continuum to progress our cultural sensitivities as an intelligent species.
In light of the current unprecedented worldwide health emergency and the climate-related natural disasters, it’s undoubtedly time for us to re-engage with a world that is telling us to change—and change quickly. Chen invites us to look at our lives, our belief systems and, indeed, our very ways of seeing. In doing so, he is challenging his audience to embrace new paths to a better future.
Given current circumstances, we have decided to open Chen Ping's exhibition
Muse and Mountain online rather than the usual gallery opening. So…instead
of joining us at 6 pm on Thursday 18 March—simply view the exhibition right
here, right now! This video of opening comments is, as per usual, made by our
Art Director, Ralph Hobbs.
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