Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exhibitions | Landscape Vocabularies: Wu Guanzhong and David Dew Bruner

Two art exhibitions seemingly disconnected present the powerful complexity of visual signs of landscape representation ---mainly trees--- and subsequent abstraction.

Signs expand from the articulation of shapes extracted from representation of trees to become abstract grammars in  "Revolutionary Ink: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong" the exhibition which opens today at The Asia Society.

Wu Guanzhong (1919–2010) was born in Jiangsu Province, China. He studied in Paris at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and his works were condemned before and during the Cultural Revolution. He is also known for his writings on art and creativity, below my favorite quotes:
"The relationship between semblance and non-semblance is in fact the same as the relationship between concrete and abstract. What exactly constitutes spirit resonance and lifelike motion (qiyun shengdong) in Chinese traditional painting? Whether in landscape or in flower-and-bird painting, it lies in the expressive difference between motion that has spirit resonance and motion that does not. Within this there is the question of the harmony or conflict between the abstract and the concrete, and the factor of either beauty or ugliness that hovers just beyond. The principle of analysis for form is the same as for music."
"Whenever I am at an impasse, I turn to natural scenery. In nature I can reveal my true feelings to the mountains and rivers: my depth of feelings toward the motherland and my love toward my people.

Revolutionary Ink: the Paintings of Wu Guanzhong
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
April 25 through August 5, 2012

The other exhibition by artist/landscape designer David Dew Bruner opened in Hudson on April 23, at Hallam gallery:
David Dew Bruner continues in his exploration of tree forms with his vibrant new drawings inspired by the celebrated Viennese artist Hundertwasser, renowned for the shattered intensity of his myriad shapes and patterns. Bruner takes you to the forest to seek out the repetitive detail of bark, limb and knot, as the trees become elegant abstracted design, reminiscent of the graphics of early 20th century Austrian art. The tension builds as these arboretums jostle for prominence in the elements, as branches are pared down to reveal their skeletal inner structure, and knots become tightened muscle.
In the second part of the show - Bruner demonstrates his passion for travel and has created an exciting new body of work based on recent trips to Britain. After exploring the diverse coastline of southern England with its undulating, pebble filled beaches and hazy, pallid light, these drawings perfectly evoke the moodiness and intensity of these monumental elements. Inspired by the visceral, disturbing beauty of British post-war master Graham Sutherland's powerful drawings, Bruner captures the shading, transparency and emotion of these often peaceful and reflective landscapes. Ancient sea-washed stone, bleached bone, and ancient spirits are brought to life in these inspiring new works on paper.

New Drawings by David Dew Bruner
426 Warren Street
April 14-29