The Infusion of Ink & Clay
Jun 19 - Aug.16, 2019
1110 2 Ave F2, New York, NY 10022
Xiangdong Chen is widely recognized as one of the first contemporary artists to master the combination of ink and porcelain. Chen has painstakingly developed a process that begins with a careful selection of clay and continues through the firing process to produce a body of work that simultaneously reveals a novel combination of media and references ancient techniques. He has mastered the delicate dance between these two unwieldy media and strikes a balance between the elements he can control and what he leaves to chance during the firing process.
Chen’s series of ink paintings also depict symbols of traditional Chinese ink painting through more recent concepts. Ranging from small works on paper to large scale, multi-panel pieces, Chen paints lotus flowers and other natural elements, such as mountains or rocks, to express his internal meditations just as ancient Chinese artists would paint imagined scenes of nature to reflect convey emotion and poetic musings. When describing Free Will - At One’s Wish (2018), Chen notes: “This ink mountain is not a particular place or mountain, it is a mountain in my heart. The mountain has a special meaning to me. It represents masculine and feminine, power and beauty.” Chen employs dots throughout as symbols of Yin and Yang forces that pervade Eastern philosophies and can be likened to the pointillist technique employed 19th-century Impressionist painters. Chen expresses his unique style through both bodies of work, which elegantly cite the icons of traditional China, bringing deeply rooted symbols of Eastern cultures into a distinctly contemporary context.