Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Top Taiwanese artist dies

Staff writer, with CNA

Artist Lee Shi-chi flips through his biography during a book launch hosted by the Ministry of Culture at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung on Nov. 1, 2017.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture

A former national policy adviser to the president, who was also the winner of Taiwan’s prestigious National Award for Arts, died on Friday, his family said.

Artist Lee Shi-chi (李錫奇), 81, died in hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday, his family said.

Born in Kinmen in 1938, Lee was known for a variety of art forms, including prints, ink drawings, abstract calligraphy, lacquer paintings, mixed media works and installations, said Liang Gallery, which has a collection of Lee’s pieces.

Due to his various artistic styles and his incorporation of Oriental traditions with modern Western philosophies, Lee earned the nickname “Bird of Artistic Variations,” Liang Gallery said in its introduction to the artist on its Web site.

Lee’s early creations featured prints on parachutes, a material he found when serving in the military in the 1960s.

Because of the parachutes’ rough texture, Lee’s works possess an explosive visual effect, the National Culture and Arts Foundation said.

In the 1970s, Lee was inspired by Chinese calligraphy and hyperrealism in the US, and began painting with airbrushes, the foundation said, adding that the tool helped Lee create a series of large paintings titled Big Calligraphy.

Lee switched to lacquer painting after a trip to China in the 1990s, and focused on the wrinkling effect that traditional lacquer painters tended to avoid, it said.

In 2012, Lee was honored with Taiwan’s 16th National Award for Arts for “experimenting on new artistic materials,” the “rich Oriental traditions of his works,” and the “promotion of Taiwan’s arts exchanges with international arts,” the foundation said.

In 2015, Lee was appointed by then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as one of his national policy advisers, the Presidential Office said.

“I was shocked by the news of Lee’s death tonight,” writer Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明) wrote on Facebook on Friday. “I loved Lee’s style because it was always candid and straightforward, and there were no limitations in his work.”

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