REVIEW – “Island Symphony” exhibition 2007

The art of Chen Ping speaks of many influences, not least the remarkable landscape of Tasmania. It is an environment forged by ancient glaciers and Antarctic blasts. This landscape has been well documented in Australian art history for being at once brutal yet stunningly beautiful. Again the forces in nature have played a key role in the development of a body of painting, manifested in Chen’s first Sydney exhibition titled Island Symphony.

Powerfully executed, his paintings exude artistic confidence; dynamic swathes of impasto paint are balanced with ephemeral delicacy conveying icy horizons to the south. Chen’s practice has a genesis in the famous art academies of China, a region renowned for artistic brilliance. Indeed the artist still exhibits regularly in his former homeland. At the heart of his practice is his understanding of the thousand year old Chinese landscape painting tradition, with its inherent values such as the solidness of rock, the lightness of cloud, obvious as it may seem- these are difficult to articulate in the medium of paint.

Chen is an artist who grapples head on with the very essence of the landscape. He chooses the expressionistic manner, at times verging on abstraction to convey his vision. This methodology is no artistic shortcut in the creation of pictorial form, for Chen is an artist who possesses the skills of the Old Masters. This coupled with his understanding of traditional western techniques marks him as an artist with exceptional depth. His contemporary painting practice allows him to deliver extraordinarily powerful yet beautiful art works that truly reflect nature’s symphony.

Ralph Hobbs

Figures, landscapes, and other contemporary paintings
by Chen Ping (Ping Chen) of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Chen Ping (Ping Chen), Australian artist and Tasmanian artist, creating Chinese contemporary art in Hobart.