黃進龍紐約首辦個展 Abandoning Detail, Gaining Meaning — Queens Chronicle

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Strong, deliberate brushstrokes meld into airy, ethereal forms. Wisps of pink and white curl off the edges of a tree branch.

Is creation an inherently destructive process? When an artist highlights certain elements of a subject, what is left behind, never portrayed?

A new exhibition at Hwang Gallery in Flushing by artist Chin-Lung Huang, a fine arts professor at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, poses these questions.

Utilizing a phrase common to Chinese religion, the exhibition is called “Abandon/Gain: East-West Encounter” — the central theme being that in order to elevate the level of the work, otherwise important details will have to be left behind. The gallery’s two dozen paintings also seek to delineate the meeting between Eastern and Western culture.

Huang’s subjects are plum trees, common in Asian art, and nude portraits of the female form, much more commonly seen in Western art. Speaking through a translator, Huang said, “Plum blossoms in Chinese culture are an essential topic, and feature drawing in Western culture is also essential, but we don’t usually paint nudes in the Eastern culture — and in fact I would say Eastern painters typically avoid nudes.”

The plum blossoms in Huang’s work are often portrayed in the midst of a snowstorm, or otherwise in the dead of winter, because plum trees are among the first to flower in the year. Their portrayal here, rendered most often in oil pigments, is more impressionistic and abstract than surgically precise. Paintings such as “The Promise of Spring in the Severe Winter” combine sweeping and decisive motion for the storm, and the faintest brushstrokes around the edges of the frame for the gentle determination of the blossoms. This depiction actually makes for a stronger image overall — somehow, with less detail, the work is not only more beautiful, but more easily understood.

The nudes Huang has painted depict women of both Eastern and Western descent in a variety of poses. Many of the paintings are watercolors, but some also are oil paintings with more heavily contrasting colors. The forms here, while less impressionistic than the plum blossoms, retain a softness to their edges, and lines take on a dreamlike quality.

“In the nude paintings, you can see the same techniques employed as in calligraphy,” according to Huang.

By his careful choice to leave out certain details in his subjects, Huang is able to capture their essence more accurately. This exhibit is a fine showcase of concepts not often portrayed in the Western art more familiar to most New Yorkers, and presents a good opportunity to see some refreshing work.

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