Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Veteran artist Vince Shih’s paintings spanning a half-century on display
施並錫編年展 看見台灣生命力

Vince Shih’s Looking at the Countryside from 1979.

Photo: Yen Hung-chun, Liberty Times

Come see how Taiwan has developed over a half-century through the eyes of veteran painter Vince Shih. A chronological exhibition of the renowned painter’s works is on display at the Taichung City Seaport Art Center until Aug. 24. The exhibit includes 125 of his paintings, documenting Shih’s formative years, concerns about Taiwanese society and the country, and finally his aspirations for finding the beauty of Taiwan again.

Shih’s exhibition “Chromatic Representations and Expressions of My Long and Arduous Life Journey” outlines the creative contexts of the artist’s entire life. The works are divided into five chronological sections, starting with paintings from high school when Shih first got turned on to painting, then university, when Shih observed the myriad of problems Taiwan faced as it transitioned from an agrarian to industrial society. The next section looks at the warm, familial paintings after Shih formed a family and his career took off. The fourth section includes paintings from Shih’s time in New York studying art, when he was dealt a shock by the foreign cultures he was exposed to there. Returning to Taiwan, Shih saw Taiwanese society released from the shackles of martial law, the economy soaring, incessant street protests and people lost in a desire for material possessions. The paintings included in the last section are filled with depictions of Taiwan’s vitality during this time when Shih traveled across the nation, exhaustively painting its barren mountains and unruly rivers and the beautiful human and scenic aspects of the island treasure called Formosa.

Shih says that in junior high school he was muddleheaded about the future. It was only because an art teacher named Chang Huan-tsai keenly admired and lauded his paintings that Shih decided to take the artist’s path for the rest of his life. After graduating from college, he wanted very much to go abroad to study painting, but his family was too poor. Shih stayed in Taipei and opened a studio where he taught painting classes instead. At this time, Taiwan was rapidly transitioning from a rural to urban landscape. The rise of authors advocating a native literature movement also sparked an intense literary war between Sinocentric authors and those pushing for a rural-oriented nativist literature. Shih jestingly says that this marks the beginning of the bitter battle between the blue and green political camps.


1. chronological adj.


(yi1 shi2 jian1 qian2 hou4 pai4 lie4 er2 ji4 zai3 de5)

例: All 552 episodes of The Simpsons will be aired in chronological order starting on Aug. 21.


2. aspiration n.

熱望;志向;抱負 (re4 wang4; zhi4 xiang4; bao4 fu4)

例: Jim has aspirations of becoming an engineer.


3. myriad n.

諸多;無數;大量 (zhu1 duo1; wu2 shu4; da4 liang4)

例: A myriad of issues were discussed during the seminar.


Taiwan is a society of immigrants, Shih says, adding that the former one-party system allowed many Taiwanese to be treated unfairly. Shih says that he was no exception, but he views these setbacks as blessings in disguise. Shih uses his spiritual strength to make himself more resolute, work harder and seek glory for Taiwan. Shih hopes that artists concerned about the world will continue to shed light on social problems and never give up hope.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)




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