The Unruly Art of Leo Tien
30 Nov 2016 — 19 Mar 2017 A deceptively simple painting, titled Happy New Year Family, shows members of a Chinese family staring directly out of the frame — but upon closer inspection, the portrait is really an indictment of racist attitudes. On the left side of the canvas, there is a small bleeding heart and a list of racist names: “Japs, reffos, wops and woks”; and on the right side, “Pommies, Yankees, Irish and Jews.” The picture on the surface is tranquil and pleasant but the prejudice either experienced or witnessed was painful enough to express in the painting. It’s New Year, a time of fresh beginnings, but the pain of racism remains. Such is the complex nature of Leo Tien’s art: a truly ‘unruly’ painter, Tien was not concerned with technical perfection but nonetheless powerful, poetic, comic and inventive. Born and raised in China as a Catholic before WWII, Leo Tien became a priest and religious scholar and eventually moved to Australia. In his late forties, he would leave the priesthood but not the church. In his new life as a Chinese Australian immigrant, he moved to Melbourne’s Dandenong, where he married, lived and worked for fifteen years until he retired. Through the deep power of his imagination, Tien was able to meld all these distinct identities into one creative voice in his painting. His strength as an artist lies not in technical prowess, but the powerful and unique imagery that reflects his deepest feelings about life as a Chinese Australian immigrant and his personal spiritual exploration.
Modern Folk Art: Peasant Paintings by Shao Qihua
7 Nov – 21 Dec (Part 1) | 9 Jan – 19 Feb (Part 2) Jinshan Peasant Paintings, also known as “Farmer Painting”, began to attract international attention in the 1970s after artist Wu Tongzhang taught painting techniques to farmers in Jinshan – a district of Shanghai well-known for its agricultural products. Peasant paintings have a unique cultural significance due to the status of its painters: older female farmers in rural China who did not receive a ‘formal’ art education, but were otherwise skilled in folk arts that had been passed down for generations including paper cutting, paper folding, embroidery, and weaving. These modern folk artists depict an idealised rural life, and while their paintings appear almost childlike in style, this is deceptive. In fact, their strong graphic design, bold colour combinations and imaginative ideas are simple but sophisticated, justifying their nickname of ‘Chinese Picassos’. Today Jinshan Peasant Painting has become a full-time occupation for many farmers and their work is being exhibited internationally. Despite the wide appeal of the artwork and their international recognition, some critics still view the paintings’ consistent theme of happiness as neither ‘real’ nor ‘serious’ art. About the artist All the artworks in this exhibition were painted by Shao Qihua. Shao was born in 1965 and is a famous Jinshan folk artist whose works have been exhibited internationally. She has won many awards and in 2006, was named Jinshan Peasant Painting Artist by the People’s Government of Jinshan District, Shanghai. Artworks available for sale – all proceeds benefit the Chinese Museum Artworks are available to purchase for $200 (including GST) from curatorial staff from Wednesday to Friday at the museum. Payments can be made by card or cash. After the conclusion of the first part of the Modern Folk Art exhibition, artworks can be picked […]
Unbounded Space [當代●無界]
15 – 20 Nov Hailing from Shanghai’s M50 contemporary art district, artist Wang Run-Yue and curator He Fei-Yue transform the abstract language of the personal into abstract objects that are tangible. Using a combination of acrylic paint and mixed media, Wang reconstructs familiar landscape scenes into something pertaining to his own artistic sensibility. Through conflicting colours and a highly textural aesthetic, audiences not only gain insight into the artist’s own changing emotional state during the creative process, but also a new and personal visual experience. The dialogue between the Wang and He aims to disrupt the relationship between the public and the personal, the ‘person’ and the ‘object’. Here, artist and audience, audience and gallery, artist and gallery, all co-exist with another as part of the exhibition. The exhibition opening night will be held on Monday 14th November at 6pm. About the Artist Wang Run-Yue was born in late 1980s. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai Normal University, majoring in oil painting. In 2005 and 2009, Wang’s work Other People’s World and Hope were selected in Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition. In his current creative works, he has been focusing on combining ceramic glaze, glass paint and resin with his oil painting practice. Wang currently lives and works in Shanghai. 藝術作為抽象的精神產物，也依賴於壹定的物質載體。萬物皆有形，常見的自然景物很容易被藝術家當作描繪的對象出現在作品中：壹棵樹、壹塊田、壹汪水、壹朵雲…而這些對象又通過藝術家的思維，轉化為平面圖象甚至符號。王閏越和何飛躍希望通過運用自己個人的藝術經驗，把意象的語言轉化成可見的抽象的“物”，讓觀眾了解到藝術創作的過程並且展開聯想，同時每個觀看的人也都將賦予作品幾近斑斕的重疊色域和更為抽象的藝術語言，通過這樣創作和互動的方式，使藝術家和觀眾之間沒有維度的界限，無論是種族，地域，國家，身份，年齡，在藝術語言面前，都成為了“大藝術”的壹部分。 在此次的展覽作品中，王閏越運用丙烯顏料和綜合媒介材料，將我們熟悉的風景以壹種帶有感性體驗和肌理的繪畫技法呈現出來，這些不同的肌理效果作為全新的作品讓我們看到藝術家自身的情感在創作中的變化。何飛躍也運用綜合媒介材料，也將植物以特殊的肌理效果和視覺體驗呈現給觀眾，通過顏色碰撞產生的視覺震顫，創造出壹個新的虛擬空間。兩位藝術家試圖在個人與公眾之間構建某種聯系，希望打破認知習慣上的人與人之間及人與物之間的界限。 在這裏，藝術家和觀眾，觀眾和展館，藝術家和展館，分別交織並同時存在，都成為藝術展覽的壹部分。而我們所看見的，又並不是全部。