Salomon Arts Gallery is honored to present “The Way of Ink,” a selection of work by Chinese artists from Beijing. The exhibition highlights ink-wash painting as the essence of Chinese painting, but reveals something much deeper about the spirit of Chinese art: truthfulness and freedom.
For these artists, governing the mind is as important a skill as manipulating the brush. Explains Weiwei Qu, “Only when you are able to control your mind can you control the way things turn out on paper.” In seeking truth and freedom, the artists achieve the mental state necessary to create. Doing so is a balancing act; one must strive to be expressive and imaginative while maintaining a level of self-restraint.
These artists have achieved this feat. Their work is exuberant and fanciful, but never explosive. Somber hues and soft, creamy brushstrokes ground the paintings in melancholia. Subtle framing choices have monumental emotional effects—a flower typically depicted from above, here viewed from the side, feels almost invasive. A house perched atop a hill, alone on a stretch of grey paper, is chillingly isolating. The artists are masters of subtle manipulation—a product of their authority over their own minds.
“The Way of Ink” is a cultural exchange between East and West. In New York alone there are hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Fuzhou. “The Way of Ink” presents this exchange from a non-western perspective, respecting the diversity of Chinese art. While several of the featured artists explore the human form, Yanling Yang focuses on the structure of various flowers. Among the painters of the human body there are those who delight in whimsy, such as Weiwei Qu, and those who revel in the ghastly, such as DaXi Juan. In some of the works, the influence of traditional Chinese painting is imminently clear. In others, this influence is felt rather than seen.
“The Way of Ink” is sponsored by the Fuzhou Art Gallery, founded in 2017. Housed within a series of Qing Dynasty buildings and former celebrity residences, the gallery is a physical manifestation of old and new. It boasts wings dedicated to both ancient and contemporary art, as well a section for public art services. Visitors can have their artwork appraised at the Fuzhou Art Gallery.