One hundred and fifty nine

Yin Yang, Lao Tzu, Wind

2009 by Chen Ping
Broadway Gallery, at a temporary exhibition;

Ping’s figurative paintings are wonderfully vivid. Figures are daubs of intense colour, dripping with emotion and movement; they are blurs in a blank background of light. They seem to appear as figures in a distance or in an observational panning of space, the space creating a blankness around them that hints at some momentary appearance. They appear as blurs, with the possibility that they could vanish as quickly as their presence has become distinct, so fleeting is their outline. The nature of the figures in Ping’s paintings appears quietly spiritual; often in simple poses, bending a head down, turning to the side, their movement is subtle, carried by the ambiguous nature of the painting style. Yin Yang, Lao Tzu, Wind possesses this element of meaning; from the title we feel that there are many components to this compositionally simple painting, and there is much in the raised hand of this man — a signal, a shading of the face, an effort to look more closely. As his hand sweeps across the top of the painting, relatively clear, the rest of his body seems to fall beneath it, in narrow drips of energy and effort, falling from the figures’ form like emotive rain. Their presence is almost like a pathetic fallacy, the weather, the dripping, of internal feelings shown on the outside of the body. The deep reds, crimsons and browns only add to the intensity of this portrait that, though blurred, betrays much in the figure’s face. His eyes look out almost blindly, while the mouth and forehead paint for us a character. It is the painterly nature of Ping’s articulation that also gives these figures their fluidity, their tangible and momentary, it seems, portrayal.



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