August 6, 2010
Contemporary Chinese artist Li Huayi emulates the Northern Song painting style with this ink and pigment on paper - part of the exhibition, Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy and Painting, on display this fall at The College of Wooster Art Museum.
WOOSTER, Ohio - Fourteen centuries of Chinese and Japanese art will grace the galleries of The College of Wooster Art Museum (1220 Beall Ave.) this fall when the museum presents Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy and Painting, Aug. 31 through Dec. 5.
Selected from the collection of H. Christopher Luce, the exhibition consists of more than 60 hanging scrolls, handscrolls, paintings, fans, and albums. The opening reception will be Thursday, Sept. 9, from 6-8 p.m. with a lecture by Luce from 7-7:30 p.m. in Room 223 of Ebert Art Center.
A scholar and a collector of Chinese and Japanese painting and calligraphy, as well as American photography, Luce attended Yale University and worked for ten years as a journalist and photojournalist. He began collecting Chinese art in the 1970s, and attended Harvard University in order to learn Chinese. He has served as curator for a number of exhibitions, including "Abstraction and Expression in Chinese Calligraphy" and "A Literati Life in the Twentieth Century," both at the China Institute in America where he was Chairman of the Board and trustee for many years; and "The Dancing Brush: Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy" at the Yale University Art Gallery. In addition, Luce serves on the Governing Board of the Yale University Art Gallery, The College of Wooster Board of Trustees, the Board of the Freer/Sackler Galleries of Art of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Yale Environmental Leadership Council. Currently, he is the director of the Board at the Henry Luce Foundation.
"We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit works of this caliber," said Kitty McManus Zurko, director and curator of The College of Wooster Art Museum. "The scope and depth of this collection stimulated unique interdisciplinary connections and provided an opportunity to present materials not normally available to a small college art museum."
Several Wooster faculty members consulted with Luce and contributed texts to the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, including John Siewert (art history), David McConnell (anthropology), Setsuko Matsuzara (sociology), Rujie Wang (Chinese), Mark Graham (religious studies), and Elizabeth Schiltz (philosophy).
Divided into five sections, the exhibition begins in the Sussel Gallery with Writing as the Basis of Graphic Art, which features various types of Chinese calligraphic script - seal (zhuanshu), clerical (lishu), standard (kaishu), running (xingshu), and cursive (caoshu) - painted by artists, scholars, poets, and leaders. The second section, Writing is Painting, Painting is Writing, energetically illustrates the innate reciprocity that exists between word and image in Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, and builds to a crescendo where a single character comprises the entire painting.
The third section, Artistic Techniques and Materials, explores the complexity of painting effects achieved using deceptively simple materials - stylus, ink, and water. The works in this section were painted with broken reeds, fingers, and crumpled paper, and demonstrate the effects that can be achieved with writing implements other than the brush. Other works illustrate wet and dry ink techniques, and the subtleties of light and dark mark-making produced through the mastery and control of ink and water.
In the adjacent Burton D. Morgan Gallery, a large painting by the contemporary Chinese artist Li Huayi (born 1948) that emulates the Northern Song painting style introduces Aesthetic Concepts in Painting. This section features works that illustrate naturalism, optical illusion, and abstraction in Chinese painting. In the same gallery, the fifth and final section, Religious Inspiration, begins with a sixth century Sui Dynasty sutra and concludes with three hanging scrolls by the Japanese artist Nakahara Nantenbo (1859-1925), the last of which is stamped with the artist's handprint; a succinct reminder that while each of the highly accomplished works in Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy and Painting follow or break traditional rules, all are guided by not only the mind, but also the hand of the artist. Other artists represented in the exhibition include Wu Kuan (Chinese, 1436-1504); Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555-1636); Mokuan Shoto (Japanese, 1611-1684); Otagaki Rengetsu (Japanese, 1791-1875), Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1864-1957), and Xu Bing (Chinese, born 1955).
"While many great collections are developed through consultation with advisors, this collection is the vision of one person whose great passion, energy, enthusiasm, and scholarship are reflected in world-class materials he has chosen to collect," said McManus Zurko. "We gratefully acknowledge and thank The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. (New York), and an anonymous donor for providing support for the exhibition."
Other events associated with this exhibition are a Faculty Roundtable on Thursday, Oct. 14, from 7-8 p.m. in Room 223 of Ebert Art Center; a Gallery Walk on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 12-1 p.m., led by Kitty McManus Zurko; and a Concert in the Gallery by the Wooster Fragments, an early music vocal ensemble, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 7-8 p.m. in the Sussel Gallery.
The College of Wooster Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. All receptions, lectures, exhibitions, and performances are free and open to the public. Group and class tours are also available. The museum will be closed Oct. 15-19 for fall break and Nov. 23-29 for Thanksgiving. The next exhibitions, scheduled for Jan. 18 through Mar. 6, feature "Trees: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue" and a faculty leave exhibition by Marina Mangubi, associate professor of studio art at Wooster.
For more information, call 330-263-2388 or visit the Art Museum website.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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