Beyond the Brush—Abstract Ink Painting since 1960 part II

Exhibition dates: 4 April  to 28 August 2017

Gallery 29 | Admission Free

The Modern Art Movement in Taiwan Part II

Fong Chung-Ray is a distinguished artist best known for his unique abstract painting. In 1949 he went to Taiwan where he received formal art training at the military’s Cadre College of Arts and Crafts. After graduation, he worked as an officer and created art works for the Navy. In 1956 he abandoned realistic descriptive style and became more interested in abstract painting. In 1961 he joined the Fifth Moon Group and his work was influenced by Liu Kuo-sung.

Beyond the Brush: Abstract Ink Paintings since 1960 – Exhibition View, works by Fong Chung-Ray

Upon emigrating to America in 1975, Fong Chung-Ray became more interested in mixed-media and collage. In 1989 Fong introduced collage into his ink painting, and developed his distinguished style that blends the essence of Chinese literati painting and the spirit of modern Western art.  He applied acrylic onto thin sheets of plastic to produce unpredictable patterns, and these patterns in turn are transferred onto papers or canvas. Such a process produced ragged, geometric shapes which blended Chinese calligraphy, European Cubism and paper mounting. His paintings blended the brush strokes of Chinese calligraphy with Abstract Expressionist features.

Fong Chung-ray, Blue, green, and black composition, 2008, ink and acrylic on layers Japanese paper, 27.1 x 24.3 cm, Sullivan Bequest, © Fong Chung Ray. EA2015.119

The paintings in this display were created by the artist in the last decade. Inspired by Liu Kuo-sung’s encouragement, Fong Chung-Ray frequently uses Chinese calligraphy as visual elements; these paintings are excellent examples of turning Chinese calligraphy into expressive images through collage. Fong Chung-Ray names his works with numbers of production rather than more descriptive titles. He was recognised as the most sophisticated colourist of the group. Fong’s colourism is distinguished by its subtle values and delicate hues. In the choice of main colours; he prefers black, pale grey, blue and violet.

Fong Chung-ray, Green, red, and black composition, 2008, ink and acrylic on layers Japanese paper, 24 x 27.2 cm, Sullivan Bequest, © Fong Chung Ray. EA2015.118

Chu Ge (alternative name Yuan Dexing) was a central figure in Taiwan’s modern art movement as a poet, art critic, painter and sculptor. He went to Taiwan in 1949, in 1957 he joined in the modern poetry and painting movements, and used the pen name of Chu Ko.

Beyond the Brush: Abstract Ink Paintings since 1960 – Exhibition View with two works by Chu Ko

In 1965 Chu Ko started working at the National Palace Museum, his research on prehistoric artefacts and Chinese history became some sources of his artistic creation. In Herdsman’s Song, the entangled calligraphic lines present artfully tied knots which were often used by people in ancient China to keep records before writing. From Chu’s view, the aesthetic of Chinese art lies in the simple beauty of knots full of transformation.


Yan Liu, Christensen Fellow in Chinese Painting.

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