Fong Chung-ray's exhibition gives tribute to an pioneer in abstract painting.
Feb 15-May 31, 2014; Tues-Sat 10-4pm; Opening Feb 15, 1-4pm
Situated between modern and contemporary, Fong Chung-ray's exhibition opening at the Chinese Culture Center gives tribute to an artistic pioneer in abstract painting.
The exhibition focuses on the artist's mature work, which incorporates styles over the course of his career, calligraphy, splashes of acrylic, and found materials such as sheets of plastic, and is an abstract style that doesn't fit neatly into any category of Chinese, Asian or Western. At first glance, this approach does not seem particularly innovative. However, it is precisely these techniques and artistry that Fong, now into his eighties and still a prolific painter, has set the stage for abstract Chinese art throughout his career. As curator Manni Liu points out, "Fong Chung-ray's importance in the history of Chinese modernism lies in his relentless pursuit of a new visual language that combines Chinese and Western sensibilities." While many artists in the 1950s and 1960s were content with perfecting brush and ink techniques, Fong instead explored new realms. Currently, his work can be found "in many younger Chinese artists, [and a] noticeable influence from Fong, whether they like to admit it or not."
Early on, Fong has acquired many accolades. He was awarded a fellowship by the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation in 1971, at an era when artists based in Taiwan were making pioneering experiments in ink painting. Around the same period, Fong's cohorts in mainland China was closed off from the world, and were only allowed to make propaganda work. More significantly, he broke the barrier to the US when Chinese art is not yet popular.
After a long career of abstract painting in Taiwan, the US and worldwide, Bay Area based Fong continues to make new work. In presenting innovative artists, the exhibition at the Chinese Culture Center will be his first solo show in a US institution.
Presented by Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.