Walsh Gallery

Ink II

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Dates: Aug 30 2001 - Oct 12 2001

Opening Reception: Jul 30 2001

INK DOESN'T STINK, Chicago, IL;

Edgy, sexy, cosmopolitan… "INK", an exhibition of contemporary Asian painting and installation, runs at Walsh Gallery September 7 through October 13, 2001. Ten artists from Japan, China, Taiwan, Canada and the United States will challenge viewers' ideas of ink painting and ink painters. Six of the artists will be present at the opening reception on Friday, September 7, from 5-8 p.m. Julie Walsh, director of the Walsh Gallery, says " Anyone who thinks of ink painting as being cute and ornamental should prepare to have her world rocked."

Koji Kakinuma, a young artist from a small town in Japan, will dress as a Samurai warrior and make a collosal ink painting during the opening. Mr. Kakinuma will wield a 44-pound brush, which weighs 88 pounds when wet. He will require several assistants to carry a garbage can filled with ink during the painting process. The public is invited to watch as, over several days, Mr. Kakinuma paints his work, drys it using fans, and mounts it on the gallery wall. The finished piece will measure approximately 10 feet by 20 feet.

Kayo Kitakomi will also conduct a demonstration of ink painting during the opening reception. Like Mr. Kakinuma, Ms. Kitakomi works on a huge scale. She begins with a mental image of a character and then tries to capture its energy and meaning in an abstracted final form. Ms. Kitakomi will also exhibit a large painted kite created to celebrate Boys Day in Japan, and several lanterns made from her paintings.

Chai Yi Min, from Shanghai, delights viewers with his simple, humorous and intimate paintings. Sometimes he suprises his audience by using frosted nail polish mixed with ink. In one piece, a pink woman lies asleep, dreaming of a rosy, amorphous being holding something soft and fleshy. Mr. Chai will be at the opening reception.

Chen Xin Mao, also from Shanghai, incorporates prints made from the wooden plates for old history texts in his "History Books" series. In the same pieces Mr. Chen makes use of natural materials, especially horse hair and grains, that refer to his experiences in rural China during the Cultural Revolution, thus creating a sort of personal history and discussion with the past that continues throughout the dozens of pieces in the series. Virtually all of Mr. Chen's work is part of this project.

In He Sai Bang's paintings, one might find a beautifully rendered chamber pot, a chopstick, a rice cooker, or any other everyday object. In traditional chinese ink painting artists take great pride in using their "qi", or inner energy, to control and add feeling to their brush strokes. Mr. He skillfully uses many small, halting strokes to deliniate an object. He also has a great fondness for seemingly accidental water spots and blotches, which he painstakingly places on the works. Such "accidents" which would ruin a piece of traditional painting, create an odd tension in paintings that would otherwise read as serene still lives. Mr. He typically discards more than a dozen paintings before creating a version that succeeds to his satisfaction.

Walsh Gallery has included an open studio in its new space, where the public is encouraged to watch invited artists create work which will later be included in exhibitions. September features Min Tse Chen, a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute who also holds degrees in Chemistry and Engineering from Taiwan's most prominent university. Ms. Chen will do an installation involving ceramics and ink drawings done directly on the studio walls. Ms. Chen's figures appear helpless, constrained by their physical forms, which lack legs and arms. Ms. Chen sees them as "empowered communicators", who work in a sort of symbiosis with the animals that appear in her work.

The ten artists participating in the exhibition are: CHAI Yi Min, Min Tse CHEN, CHEN Xin Mao, Koji KAKINUMA, Kayo KITAKOMI, HE Sai Bang, Qi Gu JIANG, LIU Jian, ZHANG Hai Tian and ZHOU Meng. All but Mr. Zhou, Mr. Zhang, Mr. He and Chen Xin Mao will be at the opening reception on Friday, September 7.