Going beyond Image
In a sense, painting is an art of creation. Through describing an image, the painter creates different contexts, records and conveys his inner feeling. In front of the same object, different people may have different feelings, while outstanding artists are usually good at capturing the inner feeling and ccurately recording it. That is why the ancient and modern artists can always touch audience deeply even if they tirelessly depicted a same object (a same subject matter) again and again. Because what they depicted is not the image itself but their inner feeling. That also echoes back what the artist Tang Yin used to say to express the atmosphere through depicting the target object, to make the sprit be the core while creating image, and to express thinking and feeling by drawing. Definitely, the existing classic presentation and cultural identification makes the uniqueness of such an expression harder and harder, which is the great challenge in the face of todays realistic painting.
Tang Yin created most of his works through going to the outside and directly painting in the Nature. Breathing in the natural air and personally feeling the Nature, he finally integrated with the natural world. His brush moved to herever his mind reached, and delivered images from his soul without stopping. Consequently, natural objects become a bridge leading to the artists heart, helping the artist to find his true self, and a media communicating the viewers and the artists emotion. The truth, seemingly known to all, that true art touches peoples inside is often ignored by todays people. Or, probably, such kind of apparently simple truth is difficult in practice. Therefore, the works we often saw were lifeless and vulgar works seeking for visual exactness through copying pictures, and showing off skills as an interest. Personally, I like Tang Yins flowers series, especially his Yulan magnolia. With the free, smooth, unrestrained but proper brushwork, they always reminded me of Chinese calligraphy, since the hazy color tone created a sense of being in air, adding a kind of lively and flowing atmosphere to the context. The Chinese-style writing detached the image from specific reality, getting closer to the soul. Such an abstract implication broadened the margin of imagination and experience, as well as directly interacted with the viewers emotion. In contrast with Western Impressionistic Painting, they outweighed with such kind of Chinese charm and liveliness. Also, they reflected the artists humanistic attitude, delivering a kind of Chinese scholars style which can hardly be seen today.
Preciously, Tang Yin trained himself with such persistence at such a young age. He should be rewarded by his obsession and devotion.
At the first sight of his name, which is exactly the same as another famouspainter and literateur in Ming Dynasty, I wonder the expectation and wishesthat his parents put on him in giving his this name and possibly have beenmotivating him to choose art and pursue his doctoral degree. In addition, hisoil paintings clearly exhibit many traditional Chinese painting characters andtechniqus, which perhaps are the results of mental insinuation or more like asubjective option of artistic creation.
Our ancestor said, Draw inspiration from nature. 1,400 years ago inSouthern Dynasty, Yao Zui had already revealed the close relationshipbetween painting and nature. Afterwards, whichever sketching by visiting allbeautiful mountains by Shi Tao of Qing Dynasty or drawing while facingnature by Corot of France, proved that drawing inspiration from nature orsketching from nature has become a creation method accepted at all times inall countries. Although drawing techniques and aesthetic interests in sketchingare widely divergent, it not only demonstrates the basic spirit in paintingbut also a broad mind facing up to the world. However, the prevalence ofconcepts in the early 20th century started to divert art to another track. Whenthe artistic world is filled with simple symbols, weare very delighted to seethe fading sketching traditions in Tang Yins paintings.
Dedication to Atmosphere
The Deputy Director of the Bureau of Art, the Ministry of Culture, P.R.C.
Tang Yins paintings are deeply influenced by the artistic concepts of histeacher, Mr. Jin Zhilin. He applies Chinese painting concepts and bushworkinto oil painting While painting, the things he draw about has already beenvisualied in his mind which follows the past peoples principle ideas inadvance of drawing. It is just due to his clear thoughts that Tang Yin drawin the open air with ease . We may safely say that scenery sketching has beenenhanced from the level of studying color relations to that of expressingemotions. He watches the changes of the world with a looser imaginationand captures the freshest momentary image with an honest and perceptiveobservation. Walking out of his studio and enjoying natural cultivation, healso completes the conversion from sketching objects to artistic language byfacing up to life and having mental dialogue with those imgaes.
--The Impression of Tang Yins Oil Paintings
The honesty and simplity that typical of Shangdong people to some extenthave cast some influence upon his artistic pursuit, and therefore he alwaysmaintains a firm pesistence to tradition despite the increasing agitation andblind following in art field. Nowadays more and more people prefer do theirpainting in studio and hope to capture life with the help of photos and arecrazy for expressing concepts, schemata, techniques or materials on canvases.The only result of this is undoubtedly the increasing distance between art andreal life. When a painting reduces to a reproduction of the second scene (thephoto), a sign of mechanical production will be consequently rooted in sucha work. Photos are close and bearing transcendental elements, and merelyexisting facts seen through colored lens. However, sketches are done throughenormous information, color and light changes brought by sun and seasons,emotional impulses aroused by scenery and objects, so even a tiny factormay greatly improve the flavor and artistic state of a painting. The objectivescenery is restructured by painters thoughts and thus water, mountains,plants and buildings all take on a fresher appearance. Hence his paintingsmade in different periods all display his perseverance to natural scenes. Thispracticeexists unfailingly in the quiet lotus pond and the gorgeous peony; inthe wrecked old temple and the exotic building; in the rolling-waved seasideand the magnificent waterfall. Not just records of the facts or sheer copying,but capturing the objects capable of carrying self-emotions in a open and freeair, and then incorporating the inner feelings into them to display the aestheticcontents and visual effects that are magnificent rather than showy, elegantrather than shallow, wild rathr than vulgar.
When 霾(pronounces mai, means haze)--a rarely used Chinese word is frequently mentioned in a day, the concept of natural must be further away in terms of time and space, but really closer in terms of emotion. Originally, a painting without gray tone and sauce-like color was considered as no depth, but now it makes you feel too artificial and dark. Only flowers blossoming under the sun, with their true colors against the clear sky, can create the sunny mood the theme of nowadays and the true colors of nature. It was never verified whether the rise of Impressionism was related to industrial production and pollution. But the pursuit of transparent air, light and color is humans common wish. At the moment when Tang Yins works are right in front of you, the loose brushwork and the striking colors may sweep off the hazes lingering in your mind with their energy of cleansing soul, and relax me to take a deep breath. Indeed, painting is something needs to be felt, not to be taken for logical thinking as a lengthy monologue. Tang Yins works reveal warmth of emotion and concern to life. The brush stroke of sincerity makes his painting like a gift from a friend afar or a letter to the nature.
Tang Yin distinct sensitivity to light and color, which developed through hisyears of sketching experience. The unconstrained and smooth brushworkendows the lines and colors with life. All of the objects in his works are hispersonalized visual expression whether it is the vigorous spring or bleakautumn, sea covered by rosy clouds or courtyard blazing with flowers. Hebreaks the limitation of form and shows the artistic conception of the objectswith his usage of color. This freedom reflected from his works reminds usof the analysis and mastery over light and color by Barbizon School andImpressionism. The artistic origins reveal that Tang Yins paintings blendvery well with modern society, while the soft and fresh artistic style ofhis paintings display his preference of classic aesthetics. In the process ofhis thinking and understanding upon nature, Tang Yin has escaped fromthe dreariness of studio and converted all of his real visual experience andmental impulses into artistic images into which he has incorporated abstractaesthetic value and free-sketch spirit. On his journey of artistic creationhe is experiencing a game of strangeness and familiarity, a delightof following nature to natural mind. He wins our admiration with hisdevotion to art, and all of his works reflect his faithful attitude toward art,dedicated passion for painting and his sincere desire for traveling betweennature and plain life.
This solo exhibition to be held in Tang Yins hometown, Qingdao, is a retrospective of his creations in the past 6 years. During these years he painted the world and people within his reach, expressed individualized perception, created his own world and delivered the deep affection by depicting flowers, the bund on the seaside, his parents and brothers. Therefore, I named the exhibition as Dedication to Atmosphere to reflect the double thinking, firstly the grace and quality implied by the respect to the nature, hometown, parents, teachers and friends, and secondly the Chinese understanding and attitude towards the world revealed by the works.
Tang Yins creation starts with painting from nature, extracts the essence of image with his eyes. He never directly takes images with hi-definition camera and then recreated the second-hand nature in front of a LCD screen in air-conditioned studio, but exposes himself in the glaring sunshine and sea wind in the nature and inputs his vivid experience into the paintings instead. This unique vividness can be found only in paintings from nature. In recent years, we have held several exhibitions for the masters belonging to the 20th Century since the painting from nature has been the subject of our research and exhibition. We even displayed the sketches from nature together with their consequent creations. Interestingly, the final creations often have lost the freshness and vitality appeared in sketches, despite their integrality and convincingness. For this reason, Tang Yin persisted in creating large-scale works outdoors as many impressionist painters, maybe in expectation to maintain the vividness of sketch from nature furthest, to activate the painting and efficiently express his passion towards natural image. As Mr. Wu Zuoren said, Only by learning from the nature can win the natural creation. The said learning from nature certainly means the nature (or the Creator) is our teacher, and we should explore the law of nature and discover the art in it. To learn from the nature is aiming to win the natural creation. Win is a kind of conceptualized action, and natural creation is a supernatural power and just the core of the artists subjective creation. Therefore, I want to intensify the importance of painting from nature in Tangs creation. For him, painting from nature does not mean brief drafts featuring the basic characteristics of a scene, but direct solution to the relationship between emotional capturing and logical creation under the outdoor sunshine. To distill the creation of the sketch, the difficulty lies on combining skillful sketches with skillful creation, so only the word win from Mr. Wu Zuoren is the appropriate choice. But it has to be admitted that win may depend on some good luck, but the controllable or uncontrollable combination is just what the charm of art is. Only by practice, nothing else, no shortcut and only diligence required. Tang Yin once told me a story which touched me. In Europe, most of his paintings from nature depict night scenes, why? He explained that he spent all the daytime in museum and could work only at nights. I was immediately reminded of one of Mr. Qi Baishis self-comments, Yesterday I did not paint due to the strong wind, and today I finished this one as a makeup, never letting one day stay in idle. It can be attributed to the hard work of a successful artist, but also to the artists obsession on painting. No painting for one day is a torture, so making it up on the next day can be a comfort. I guess Tang Yin shares the same feeling. Staying abroad, he did cherish the direct feeling, without working he could not get peace of mind. So, Tang Yin finished considerable creations, which is rarely seen in some oil painters.
Curator of Art Museum of Beijing Fine Arts Academy
What is more, Tang Yin adopted the spirit of Chinese Kungfu in the process to win. The freehand brushwork seeking for artistic conception and self-expression takes a dominating proportion in his works. With his imitating ability, his pursuit after artistic conception, plus the ink and brush effect with oil paints, his works are added with oriental taste. No matter depicting the fluctuation of sea wave, the surging of the Yellow River, or the spreading of petals, his strokes remain in a state of rhythmical moving on the canvas, which is flexible, even jumpy, with musical rhythm, just like a piece of Polka played by string plucking, clear and resounding. The melodious brushwork reflects both Mr. Jin Zhilins art style and Tang Yins own unique taste. Thus Tang Yins ink-style oil paintings constitute an important part of the artistic form in his works, and become the label of his artistic style.
Qi Baishi Memorial Museum
In his art practice, Tang Yin tries every painting subject, including still life, portrait and landscape, as categorized in western painting, as well as mountain and river, flower and bird, and figure, as categorized in Chinese painting. This is may be the basic quality of an artist with Ph.D. Although taking the form of oil painting, I feel that his landscape looks like the mountain and river of Chinese painting, and his still life looks like the flower and bird of Chinese painting. Especially the flowers in his paintings, no matter a tree of Yulan magnolia or several branches of Chinese herbaceous peony, all contain humanity thinking inside. All the flowers generally impress me with their thick, heavy but decorous grace, more masculine but less effeminate. These works follow a kind of bold and unconstrained manner, even with Shandong peoples generosity. They are intensive and extensive. One flower is a world, to Tang Yin, is never a kind of sentiment but passionate supplication. Especially the purplish red cockscombs, I could only find a sentence of song lyrics to describe them properly: they are blooming life.
In 2008, Tang Yin once held a solo exhibition in the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy. I did not see any large-scale painting in that exhibition, may be because of the limitation of space. In my memory, his work at five years ago still focused on carefully depicting images one after another, and expressing his perceptions in front of the subject matters. But today, after five years, when I saw his two pieces of lotus pond painting with six meters wide, I realized that he had already begun to create an atmosphere , and consequently stepped onto a new stage of creation. In front of the panoramic lotuses, the audience with preliminary knowledge about western art history cannot help recalling Monets last large-scale water lily painting now stored in the Orangerie Museum, Paris, representing Monets salute to life and oriental art. Tang Yins two water lily paintings were named as Inquiry to Zen and Ode to Lotus respectively, which can be considered as an oriental young artists salute to Monet. The titles of the two works indicate a question and an answer. It does not matter with time or space. The subject conveys the artists inner feeling. The works in this exhibition show less passion that we could see in his previous works, but more profoundness in emotion. Anyhow, painting is one of the ways for people to express feeling with brushes. Its charm comes from the fact that it fixes and condenses peoples appeals and delivers ideas in a visual manner. If there are resonances being aroused when the audiences eyes fix on the image, that is because of the power of painting. The two large-scale works make me feel the respect to ancestors and the nature.
Tang Yins Solo Exhibition in 2013 is a reflection of one phase of his creation. The way of art pursuit is long and tough. His career reaches the point, but never ends at the point.
Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy