Wang Ming's "Universal Dimensions" on view at Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery


Image: Wangaspects of traditional chinese calligraphy combined with western abstraction are the hallmarks of wang ming's latest exhibit, "universal dimensions - scrolls and screens," on view at Fairfield University's Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery from Sept. 14, through Dec. 17, 2000. An opening day reception is planned for Thursday, Sept. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m., which includes a lecture at 6:30 p.m., by Jeffrey Wechsler, the exhibit's curator.

Born and raised in a small village near Beijing, China, Ming emigrated to the United States in 1951 at age 29, settling in the Washington, D.C. area. In China, he studied calligraphy and the classical painting of his native land and, after his arrival in this country, began to learn about western art by visiting museums and galleries and reading in the Library of Congress. He has emerged as an artist whose style is his own, developed by the visual and technical assimilation of two cultures in a unique blend of east and west.

To understand Ming's work it is necessary to bear in mind the concept of Chinese calligraphy which is the art of expressing the artist's interpretation of the character by using formalized brush strokes. In China, calligraphy and painting are considered branches of the same art. On the other hand, as a western artist, his brush strokes attempt to transform the world by his inner vision.

When western art moved from altar screen and triptych to the framed picture, it lost its mobility and became a kind of artificial window. People in portraits are looking out a window and landscapes are viewed through the constraint of window. By contrast, Chinese art took the form of a scroll or album, a continuous picture, which has no single, but multiple, viewing points.

Although Ming has made many paintings in western format, in recent years he has returned to the scroll and album formats of China. These enable him to give his paintings continuity and fluidity with the multiplicity of vision that one has from a boat moving on a river. The viewer can begin anywhere and progress in either direction. Wang's work is a painterly vision, not a literary one. "My work goes beyond the word," he once wrote.

Wang's work can be viewed in the Walsh Gallery in Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2969.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 23, 2000

Vol. 33, No. 13