REVIEW – Savagery and Silence

Savagery & Silence

The art of Chen Ping may first resemble abstract colourism, or suggest abstract expressionist tendencies, yet the presence of semi-figurative compositional elements would deny either errant assumption. The variable applications of brushwork and hewn knife-work depict an imaginative mindscape wherein the artist’s ultimate quest for emancipation and individual liberty resonate. Chen Ping received an academic formation, lending the later series nuances of traditional schemata- depth and tone: the artist reveals a visual language which resists the facile dichotomy of East/West discourse and associative relegations. The artist ascribes his trajectory with acuity and poignancy, reiterating the claim of abstraction is inapt, alert in a process where the end lies in the brush’ moment, he retains an adept employ in the creation of quasi-symbolic figurative elements, essentially, flora and fauna of indigenous legends and myth. The various works could be considered as contingent of post-Modernism: contingent in light of a core orientation towards freedom absent of the libation of either formal or art historical imperatives.

It is, in truth, a challenge to attempt to illustrate with words what appears visually evident on witnessing the artists’ canvas. I shall not attempt to deliberate or elaborate upon individual series and the individual works themselves, with the perception that what best demarcates the artist’s rather exclusive position and originality lies in the coherency of his individual philosophy in accordance with the emergence of each canvas. There exists inspiration from both Occidental contemporary and Oriental traditional philosophy. A parallel discourse in the mind of the artist is an equation of action and thought, a principle often ascribed as an extemporal condition. From humanism and ethos of “fluid” movement, herein a kinesis occurs. Narrative ecoes upon the canvas acting as a caustic contest of a visual language impregnate with savagery and silence, ruptures of colour permeate erratic latitudes which render a dynamically imbued visual fore. The more sparing, near vacant, periphery of several works suggest an attention to emphasize the latent force of colour and movement in a polemical consideration. Silence speaks at the peripheral cusp of the canvas, an orchestration of light, line and colour are diffused, interwoven and transfigure subjects: the artist illustrates the Real, essentially denoting neither simplistic reductivism nor sheer abstraction. An errant speculation owing to Occidentalism might otherwise presume.

An essence of mind exists in the artist’s natural effluvium, light and colour saturation within the intense brushwork and this essence predominates his creations. In an era where modality and subtext enact further “justification”, we observe an artist whose orientation yet qualifies painting as being possible in contemporaneous discourse; a synchronous modality as an emancipation of the act of painting/the self. Intrinsic, a narrative yet exists, substantiated in the random evidence of the semi-figurative images sculpted in time, the moment of the discordant fields of colour mere instances of truths within. This visual language and sense of the errant in the search of emancipation or absolute truth is not unique to the artist alone, yet his continuous extemporal creations are exemplary and void of the fallacious mirror of abstraction. Truth ruptures within the process of creation.

R. A. Suri

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.