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Linearity‧Symbols‧Eastern Geometry — WU Hsueh-Jang Art Exhibition
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Linearity‧Symbols‧Eastern Geometry — WU Hsueh-Jang Art Exhibition (Review) Appreciation
Exhibition Banner - Linearity‧Symbols‧Eastern Geometry — WU Hsueh-Jang Art Exhibition
Exhibition Dates: 2017/02/18 ~ 2017/05/07
Place: 101 Gallery
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  Along with the world’s political evolvements, fine arts in modern Taiwan have been through the most drastic changes in history. The changes not only have to do with the happenings within the country but are also closely influenced by the neighboring countries, such as Japan, China, and the West. Today, fine arts in Taiwan are no longer a proud, class-specific subject as it traditionally was, but a carrier of a nation’s power, identity and culture. How to construct the form and content of fine arts, making it self-manifesting and defensive of foreign influences, it has become a critical mission in our times.


The raging trend of shaping a new culture, which started before the war, found a new ground in Taiwan as the nationalist Chinese government moved here. “Restoring Chinese culture” was the politically correct thing to do. Therefore, the concepts of traditional, modern, public, Eastern and Western were abandoned by government and ink-wash painting became tools for political games, deviating from democratic and self-discipline. They made a fatal error in Taiwan’s ink-wash painting development of ignoring the local society’s connections, thus causing cultural Chauvinism.


No matter in Western painting or ink arts fields, the “revolutionist artists” have strongly westernized concept in the postwar period. They were criticizing and sneering at traditions, even wanting to replace them with modern ideas. WU Hsueh-Jang was the few painters who excelled in “traditional”, “life-sketching” and “modern” painting, and this revealed his unique cultural stance. This all-encompassing characteristic stems from his life goal established at a fairly young age. By absorbing, integrating and transforming all artistic concepts, WU found a direction for himself in modern painting and has devoted to this path.


WU Hsueh-Jang graduated from Hangzhou’s National College of Art which has cultivated many contemporary masters of Chinese painting. WU was instructed by prestigious artists such as PAN Tian-Shou, CHEN Zhi-Fo, LIN Feng-Mian, LI Ke-Ran, WU Fu-Chih and ZHENG Wu-Chang. He established a solid foundation of painting knowledge for himself. Standing on the firm ground, WU was motivated to acquire different interests. Outside the school, he extensively explored the best aspects of Nanzhong, Beizhong, Gongbi, Xieyi, Jinshi and contemporary life-sketching, then he attained an artistic state of mastering. He is not only good at traditional and modern techniques but also wins the hearts of both elites and the general public.


WU Hsueh-Jang came to Taiwan in 1948 after his graduation. Besides teaching at the school, he participated in a modern ink-wash painting movement which took place in Taiwan during the 1950s and 1960s, and afterwards he became a representative painter in this field. WU took the revolution in a gentle, step-by-step approach, but he still believes that the most imminent task in the modernization of ink-wash painting is to invent new “structures” and “forms.” Such a view became a founding element of his personal painting style. WU continued to explore lines and signs through abstractionist brushwork and semi-automatic splashing techniques. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, upon studying all the related knowledge and movements, WU’s “Eastern geometry” was a milestone in art history.


WU’s well-thought, the advanced style has not only been applied to painting but also widely to calligraphy, seal cutting, wax dye, colored woodwork, finger painting, pottery, etc. This shows his lasting motivation in becoming a versatile modern artist. Through Gongbi, Jinshi and Japanese plain air painting techniques, WU delivers the meaning of paradigms, the joy of life, and the love for his homeland. Meanwhile, WU uses West modernism from to analyze the changes of texture, shape and structure of paintings. The humanistic graphics are simple and straightforward but show the care for family, place, history and culture. Ultimately, he forms a new postwar cultural paradigm that writes off ideological confrontations and brings people towards collaboration and prosperity.
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