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SHUIMO/Water Ink, a selling exhibition of Chinese Contemporary ink paintings at Sotheby's
Li Huayi, Whispering Pine, Reaching to the Clouds (The Band, 1969), 2012. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- From 14-28 March 2013 as part of Asia Week New York Sotheby’s SI2 Gallery will present an exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Ink Paintings entitled SHUIMO, the combination of the two Chinese characters meaning water and ink. The exhibition explores the diversity of Chinese ink painting with examples ranging from bold abstraction, to attentive traditionalism to light-hearted pop, many of which have been painted especially for the show. The exhibition features 14 of the leading artists working in the medium today with pieces by Cai Xiaosong, Arnold Chang, Gu Wenda, Li Huayi, Li Jin, Li Xiaoke, Liu Dan, Master of the Water Pine and Stone Retreat, Peng Wei, Qin Feng, Tai Xiangzhou , Xu Lei, Zeng Xiaojun and Zhu Wei. Prices for the pieces in the exhibition range from $8,000 to over $1 million.

Meeseen Loong, organizer of the exhibition said: “We are thrilled to present SHUIMO/Water Ink, the first selling exhibition of Asian Art at Sotheby’s New York. With an increasing number of museum and gallery shows in the US, interest in Contemporary Chinese ink painting has never been higher. This exhibition showcases the diversity and talent of many of the today’s leading Chinese Ink artists bringing their work to the global audience that will be in New York for Asia Week.”

Chinese ink painting, an essential component of the culture for millennia, has entered a period of bold renewal and reinterpretation. The fourteen artists of SHUIMO are in the vanguard of this renaissance with styles ranging from bold abstraction to reinvigorated traditionalism to personal and playful figurative painting. From the simple elements of water and ink emerge artworks of intimate subtlety and overwhelming emotional power.

SHUIMO artists produce landscape paintings that connect with the past from Li Huayi’s monumental works to modern expressiveness of Arnold Chang and Qin Feng, to the intimate sereneness of the Master of the Water Pine and Stone Retreat.

Rock paintings have long been admired both as a combination of abstraction, still life, and landscape paintings. Like many rock painters Liu Dan, Zeng Xiaojun, and Cai Xiaosong first made their names as landscapists. Wenda Gu studied landscape painting and experimented with abstraction before creating the “pseudo-characters” that have become his most recognizable motifs. In a well-known ongoing series he combines a pseudo-character with a landscape set in an abstract space.

The three figure painters in the exhibition, Li Jin, Peng Wei, and Zhu Wei, have produced modern takes on the genre that dominated so much of twentieth century art, drawing upon classical themes and techniques.

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