By Kang Wen
Recently. The solo art exhibition of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang was held at the Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center of the Department of Culture of Thailand. Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is a distinguished international art master of world renown who is highly recognized by the art world both in the East and in the West.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to appreciate Dr. Wang’s ink paintings which are truly refreshing. I feel like I have entered an art sanctuary of wonderful colors where I can stroll slowly, appreciate silently, and savor the details thoroughly. As I am strolling along, I notice that I have left the noise of the world behind, and I sense the clarity, peacefulness and serenity in my mind.
Great masters specializing in painting flowers and fruits in the recent 100 years are such as Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi. As I view Dr. Wang’s works, I feel that her artworks are of the top quality in the free hand style of liberal expressivity.
Professor Wang’s paintings contains the brushwork of traditional Chinese ink painting while incorporating the strategies of Western painting. Her art, honoring tradition and breaking new grounds at the same time, is unique and unfathomable, sophisticated and powerful.
From the paintings, we can see how Professor Wang especially pursues and places emphasis on the spirit, the sensibilities, and artistic conception of ink painting through which she shows the different characteristics of Chinese and Western paintings. She merges these characteristics into her distinguished style.
Professor Wang’s ink paintings are leading me into the refreshing and beautiful nature, allowing my restless soul to rest peacefully.
In one of the paintings, three lotuses stand elegantly and the pods have just become fully grown. The stems created by seal-script brushstrokes have a pure and dignified presence.
The composition is clean, simple and effective; echoing the legacy of Bada Shanren. The painting seems to symbolize noble qualities of a lotus that grows out of the sledge yet remains pure, sending off its refreshing fragrance.
Standing in front of the Vitality at the Lotus Pond, I am drawn to the full composition of the ink-wash pastel flowers and the carefree, other-worldly artistic conception. The painting is enlivening a wondrous scenery of lotus in misty rain where the flowers can be compared to the renown classic beauty Xishi who was known to look elegant whether she adorned her face with rich or simple colors.
In a loquat painting, the fruits are painted in a semi-abstract manner. Powerful brushstrokes are used to depict the leaves and the stems. Under Dr. Wang’s sophisticated, forceful and unrestrained brushwork, the leaves of the loquat tree appear robust and energetic. The round and perfect yellow fruits depicted by Dr. Wang in the style of realism look adorable and delicious. There is a sense of classic elegance throughout the composition which also leads one to think of prosperity, peacefulness, and a big family with many children and grandchildren.
A painting depicting cockscomb flowers is inscribed with the verse “Red and white cockscombs are cherished delights. A few strokes of the brushes capture the pleasantness.” The color contrast of the red and white cockscomb flowers seems ordinary yet it is most exceptional. This is truly an extraordinary conception. The upstanding, bright and red flowers with heads held high give a sense of positivity, upward mobility, and vigorous passion.
In another painting, the plum blossoms are energetic and full of power, with slanting branches that are charmingly graceful. The composition of this painting is audacious, lively, and untainted by the mundane, giving a unique sense of spirituality. In this painting, the rich colors are not garish, the faint colors are not cold. The artistic conception is truly transcendent in depicting the subtle fragrance and gentle movement of the flowers.
The five petals of a plum blossom symbolize the five good fortunes including happiness, joy, longevity, wellbeing, and peace. There is a saying that goes, “The plum blossoms give out a sweet fragrance after enduring the bitter cold.” Plum blossom symbolizes strong and noble character.
In the painting Plum Blossoms, Professor Wang has penned the inscription that says, “The charm of the ink and brush is in the spirit, the way of painting plum blossoms is just the same.” The inscription speaks of how vivaciousness and the highest state of artistry can be achieved through the ink, the brush, the color and the lines.
With a faithful mind, I appreciate the paintings one by one silently. I read each and every classic inscription carefully. I feel as if I am taken into a brand-new state of being where I experience poetry in the paintings, paintings in the poetry, and wonderful melodies in praise of the nature’s embrace.
German philosopher Goethe once described art in this way: Beauty is the highest principle of art. It is also the highest goal.”
Professor Yuhua Wang’s paintings are extraordinary. The excellence of her art does not lie in how the artist represents the form of nature, but in how she uses the form to express her mind, and how she brings out the spirit within the form. Her paintings express humanity’s wishes for peace and happiness; they express humanity’s praise to the qualities of freshness, transcendence, nobility and elegance; and they also express humanity’s gratitude to the selfless beneficence of flowers, trees and plants.
In this sanctuary of art, we have enjoyed a precious experience of beauty. Our souls are cleansed and transformed by beauty.
I wish that Professor Yuhua Wang’s exhibition will tour different parts of the world, so more people may enjoy the beauty of nature, the beauty of art, the beauty of life, and the beauty of character.
We also look forward to seeing more of the art of Dr. Yuhua Wang that is of the style of ease.