Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Paintings of Qian Pingji

Mary Qian's father,
 Qian Pingji (b. 1941),  is something of an innovator.
As the director of a chemical research facility in Shanghai
he has over 50 inventions to his credit.

And as an artist
he doesn't  like to do the same painting twice,
or to even use the same materials

Some of his pieces might be called abstract,
but he vehemently asserts that he is a realist.

He's always looking at the world out there,
it's just that the forces of nature
are not always within the scope of human understanding.

Traditional Chinese intellectual life
is neatly divided between
the social (Confucianism),
the psychological (Buddhism),
and the natural (Taoism)

Whether or not he's ever been inside a Taoist  temple,
it's obvious where Pingji's mind likes to go.

 Taoists can never get enough
of water flowing over rocks

He likes to see the planet close up

And he really likes the spacious vistas

reminding me of this painting from the Art Institute
(Antwerp, 1530)

He seems to focus on overall design
while letting chance determine
exact tones and areas of detail.

So, like photographs, his pieces can be exciting
but never completely satisfying

But explorers are never  satisfied anyway,
are they?


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