Sun, Sep 08, 2013 - Page 12 News List

The Tao of paint

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff reporter

Post-Inner Scripture — God of Camel (2013).

Photo courtesy of Art Issue Projects

Peng Hung-chih (彭泓智) returns to his roots, both in terms of medium and subject matter, with Post-Inner Sculpture (後內經圖), a series of over 20 paintings currently on view at Art Issue Projects in Neihu.

Peng, who trained as a painter but who has worked predominantly in video, sculpture and installation, says that his new work was inspired by the Inner Scripture (內經圖), a classical Taoist medical diagram shaped like a dragon that depicts the circulation of blood and qi (氣) — the invisible energy that some Chinese believe pervades all things. The pictograph serves as a starting point that enables Peng to meditate on and link up various aesthetic traditions, particularly abstract expressionism and calligraphy, contextualized within a framework of visual cues that offers contemporary interpretations of classical imagery and spirituality.

But this isn’t new age stuff. From a distance, Peng’s work resembles the action paintings of Jackson Pollock, a function of his working method which involves first inviting an individual to dapple, drip or splash paint on to the canvas. This undercoating, of sorts, serves as the foundation upon which he builds up his largish paintings. As we draw closer, finer details culled from the mythological Taoist diagram — the eyes of a dragon or its claws — are spread out in a tableau punctuated with plankton-like creatures framed within flowing grids of microscopic organisms and naturally occurring patterns reminiscent of Yves Tanguy’s surrealist biomorphic paintings.

Walking away from the simply rendered though immensely complex works gives one a taste of the universe, if only within the context of a frame.

■ Art Issue Projects (藝術計劃), 32, Ln 407, Tiding Blvd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市堤頂大道二段407巷32號), tel: (02) 2659-7737. Open daily from 11am to 6pm. Closed Mondays

■ Until Oct. 20

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