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CLOUDS OF INK, POOLS OF COLOUR: PAINTINGS BY HOU BEIREN
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16 May 2020 - 15 Nov 2020

 

The exhibition is now extended to 15 November 2020.

 

Clouds of Ink, Pools of Colour is a comprehensive spread of Hou Beiren’s landscape paintings in the splashed ink style. His painted panoramas are filled with playful and elegiac meditations on the theme of the Chinese landscape expressed in luminescent swirls of colour and cascades of ink, a theme to which he has returned numerous times over recent decades as he has sought to map out a new pictorial cartography.

 

This catalogue includes recent donations of Hou Beiren’s paintings to HKU’s University Museum and Art Gallery, which is especially resonant, as Hou spent several formative years in Hong Kong in the early 1950s before departing for America. Today, he lives in Palo Alto in northern California, where at the age of 103 he continues to paint in his beloved Old Apricot Villa, his home and studio for over 50 years.

 

The origins and sources behind Hou Beiren’s splashed ink work lie in the ink landscape painting of the Tang (618–907) and Southern Song (1127–1279) dynasties. Subsequently eclipsed by literati painting in China after the fourteenth century, splashed ink continued in the Zen influenced Japanese ink wash painting of the Muromachi Period (1333–1578). This tradition was revived and renewed in the 1950s by the great twentieth-century master of Chinese painting Zhang Daqian (1899–1983), who saw parallels with the Abstract Expressionist and action painting then dominant in the Western avant garde. Zhang and Hou were close friends, and in recent decades Hou has tirelessly developed his form of splashed ink landscape painting into a uniquely personal practise.

 

Please click here for exhibition handout.

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