Despite being an essential part of painting, the importance of paper has often been ignored in the appreciation of paintings. The painful search by painters for the right kind of paper to work on is rarely revealed.
Chang Da-chian (
For nearly 20 years, Ho Chi-liang (
Wang developed an improved kind of paper called Midnight Blue paper. The newspaper report on it and the blue of the paper caught Ho's attention.
With the hope of finally finding the paper he wanted, Ho contacted Wang and soon collaborated in a paper/painting exchange.
The result of their collaboration since last year is now on show in, "Hand-made Paper and Chinese Painting" (
For gallery-goers who take paper for granted, this is an exhibition that will change their ideas about paper's role in paintings, and ink paintings in particular.
Better known as the "Urban Poet" for a series of poetry collections, Ho's ink paintings have a suave simplicity to them that appeals to modern tastes even when his subjects conform to "Mandarin paintings" conventions.
Golden Lotus on Midnight Blue Paper (
An accompanying short prose piece at the bottom of the painting expresses Ho's delight in good paper.
Comparing a painter's envy of other painters with good paper to a woman's envy of other women with good looks, Ho said that he's always jealous of others who manage to acquire good paper to work on.
Ink painters and calligraphers in Taiwan usually look for hand-made paper in Hong Kong or Japan, as Chinese rice paper is of inconsistent quality while Taiwanese paper lacks enough good raw materials.
Wang tried to improve the quality of rice paper by turning to ancient scripts on paper-making. It required a lot of deciphering of arcane jargon that ancient Chinese used to discuss papers.
But, after repeated experiments, Wang reconstructed some paper-making procedures and abandoned other mistaken ones. The resulting paper is more durable and absorbs ink to appropriate degrees.
Flower and Leaves on Cold Gold Paper (
Silver paper suits landscapes. In Rock Locked in Green Mist (
A large number of the exhibits are done on a kind of imitation Soong dynasty paper with parallel lines.
The conspicuous lines, left by bamboo presses, were considered a drawback at the time. Ho turns these lines to his advantage. The resulting works, mostly landscapes, have an enjoyably quaint and pastoral quality to them.