Exhibitions

“Landscape.Taiwan” Tzu Chi YEH solo exhibition

“Landscape.Taiwan” Tzu Chi YEH solo exhibition

Exhibition Period
09 May 2009 - 07 Jun 2009
Address
ESLITE GALLERY∣5F, No. 11, Songgao Rd., Taipei 11073, Taiwan
Opening Hours
09 May 2009

Eslite Gallery is pleased to announce an upcoming solo exhibition “Landscape.Taiwan” by artist Tzu Chi Yeh. The exhibition features a number of new works created by Yeh during the last three years, documenting his careful and patient observation of the mountains and seas from his current residence in Hualien as well as memories from the past. For instance, he paints the night waves that precede a typhoon, the sea clouds in The Last Day of July, and the grey sea in A Ship on the Misty Ocean. The sea has become an extension of his memory of images, extending from one end of the Pacific to the other. Tzu Chi Yeh once said: "The landscapes that surround me are intimately related to my spiritual journey." Therefore, his also paints Taroko’s Eternal Spring Shrine, because as a frivolous youngster, Yeh once chased his dreams at the enormous mountain next to the shrine. The ridges between the mountains of the Northern Cross-Island Highway hold memories of a trip taken with artist Hsia Yan. ChiliannTaipei paints the place located in Taipei's suburbs where Yeh stayed while grieving for his loss. East Coast is what Yeh remembers most from a trip to Taitung. East Lake, Dong Hwa University portrays a scene Yeh enjoyed after he returned to Hualien to serve as a resident artist at National Dong Hwa University.

Looking at Tzu Chi Yeh's “Landscape×Taiwan,” we can see the true beauty of Taiwan's mountains and seas, one that has never been revealed before and that offers a deep breath of beauty from life and nature. Through Yeh's works we can see his dedication to his painting and his beliefs, and the deep love and gratitude he feels towards the land where he was born and raised. Like a monk who prays as he passes through the mountains or a traveler who chants as he gazes at the sea, Yeh is focused on pursuing a dialogue with nature, an endless exploration of art's soul.

Tzu-Chi YEH

Tzu-Chi YEH studied at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan before furthering his education at Brooklyn College of City University of New York, USA. He moved back to Taiwan after living in New York for 19 years in order to settle in Hualien, a city facing the east coast of Taiwan, with his family. His paintings almost always present a visual diary of his past in which place and memory merge in poetic depictions of natural scenery he holds dear to his heart. YEH 's works present the true beauty of Taiwan's mountains and seas, one that has never been revealed before and that offers a deep breath of beauty from life and nature. Through YEH's works we can see his dedication to painting and his beliefs, and the deep love and gratitude he feels towards the land where he was born and raised. Like a monk who prays as he passes through the mountains or a traveler who chants as he gazes at the sea, YEH is focused on pursuing a dialogue with nature, an endless exploration of art's soul.

YEH’s landscape and still-life works share many characteristics with portrait paintings; they emphasize contrasts in lighting and atmosphere between background and foreground, which accents the development of space. He uses precise changes in tone and hue to express a unified sense of light, and employs a minimalist composition and subtle arrangement, creating a profound tranquility and deep nostalgia. “My paintings present a certain period of time that has materialized and condensed in space”. As such, objects portrayed by YEH become monuments, and the landscape sacred and solemn. Under YEH’s brush, the subjects quietly unfold a monologue of their own.

1957        Born in Hualien, Taiwan
    
EDUCATION   
1976-1977        Studied at National Taiwan College of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
1981        BFA, Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan
1989        MFA, Painting and Drawing, Brooklyn College of City University of New York, USA
    
SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013        "Monologue‧Dialogue Works 1980-2013", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
2010        "The Memory of Tainan", Inart Space Jali Gallery, Tainan, Taiwan
2009        "Landscape‧Taiwan", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
2008        "Landscape", Moon Gallery, Taichung, Taiwan
2007        "Landscape", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
               "1978-2007 Tzu-Chi Yeh's Selections", National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan
               "Tzu-Chi Yeh's Selections", Pine Garden, Hualien, Taiwan
2005        "Monologue ─ Near and Far from Home, 1989-2005", Moon Gallery, Taichung, Taiwan
2004        "Monologue ─ Near and Far from Home, 1989-2004", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
2002        "Landscape‧Taiwan II", Dimensions Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
2000        "Landscape‧Taiwan", Dimensions Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
1998        "Flowers I", Home Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
               "Flowers II", New Phase Art Space, Tainan, Taiwan
1997        "Landscape 1988-96", Home Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1995        "The Sacrifice of Flowers", Home Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1994        "Nostalgia from the Bathroom: Dialogue & Monologue", ESLITE GALLERY, Taipei, Taiwan
1993        "1978-1993 Selections", Hualien County Cultural Center, Hualien, Taiwan
               "Monologue II", New Trends Gallery, Taichung, Taiwan
1992        "Monologue", The Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1989        MFA Thesis Exhibition, Westbeth Gallery, New York, USA
1987        "The Legend of Growth", AIT American Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan
1985        "The Legend of Life", Nan Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2012        "Landscape", Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, USA
2011        "Dual Senses and Dynamic Views-Contemporary Art Exhibition Across the Taiwan Straits of
               2011", National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; National Taiwan Museum of Fine
               Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
2006        "Oeuvre of Contemporary Art in Taiwan", Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2002        "Song of Clouds and Waters-New Realist Painting in Taiwan Since 1970s", Asia Art
               Center, Taipei, Taiwan
1997        "Force of Nature - Contemporary Paintings", co-curated by Ronny Cohen and Marlene Yu,
               Taipei Gallery, New York, USA
               "New York - Hualien", Neocitizen Gallery, Hualien, Taiwan
1995        "Looking Through Lines", Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei, Taiwan
1994        "Re-reading Taiwan Modern Art - The Exploration of Style in Realistic Painting",
                Home Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1991        "A Spark of Genius: Power/Strength/Movement", Atrium Gallery, General Electric
               Research & Development Center, Schenectady, New York, USA
1990        "Third Annual Dia De Los Muertos", Alternative Museum, New York, USA
               "New Talent", Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York, USA
               "Micro/Macro", Helio Gallery, New York, USA
               "National Competition, Lennart Anderson/Juror", First Street Gallery, New York, USA
1989        "Second Annual Dia De Los Muertos-Los Angelitos", Alternative Museum, New York, USA
1987        "The New Look of Chinese Modern Art", National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan
1986        "Contemporary Arts Trends in the Republic of China in 1986", Taipei Fine Arts Museum,
                Taipei, Taiwan
                "The Style of Twenty-Two Artists", Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
1984        "101 Modern Art Group Exhibition", Taipei Social Education Hall, Taipei, Taiwan
               "New Trends Exhibition", Artist Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1983        "101 Modern Art Group Exhibition", AIT American Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan
               "101 Modern Art Group Exhibition", Multi-media Art Square, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1980        "Asian Young Artists Exhibition", Hong Kong, China
               "The Prospects of Taiwan's Art World-Young Artists", Spring Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

Landscape. Taiwan

Author / Tzu-Chi YEH
  • Language
  • PriceNT$450
  • PublisherThe Eslite
  • Size
  • Publication Date2009/05
  • ISBN9789868457355
BUY
Landscape. Taiwan

The Poetry of Mountains and the Sea: Tzu Chi Yeh's Landscape, Taiwan

By Effi Chang
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In the course of Western painting history there has always been a debate between the "rational" and "emotional" in landscape painting. For instance, Franz Kafka once expressed his doubts about the relationship between landscapes and rational thinking. Some scholars believe that the charm of landscape paintings is impossible to resist, that the paintings have the power to influence our thinking, and that they can even stimulate new and better patterns of logical thought. In the works of many great masters, landscape represents metaphoric density and is projected onto an enormous cultural backdrop. It does more than simply act as a mirror of the environment; rather, it is part of a fascinating process. At a certain period in time and space "landscape paintings" became closely integrated with man's conception of the natural world and began to reflect the ideals of cultural progress. Distinct from Western landscape painting, with its deeply entangled rational and emotional aspects, Chinese landscape paintings focus on a world that can be tacitly understood: they contain vast meaning but yet seem more artless and pure.

Tzu Chi Yeh's paintings have always had a contemporary feel, a strong sense of composition as well as a rich classical ambience. After more than 50 years of studying, being exposed to and influenced by Western and Chinese culture (first for 30 years in Taiwan, and then for nearly 20 years in the West before returning to Taiwan), Yeh’s landscape paintings seamlessly alternate between rational thought and emotional expression, endowing them with a powerfully compelling yet hazily ambiguous combination of aesthetics from Chinese and Western art.

Tzu Chi Yeh's artistic training and cultivation has a cross-cultural depth, intensity, and comprehensiveness. Born in Yuli, a town in the East Rift Valley in Hualien, Yeh grew up surrounded by mountains. His father, who was born in the later years of the Qing Dynasty, had a deep grounding in history and literature, enjoyed calligraphy and poetry, and longed for the idyllic countryside and carefree spirit described in one of Tao Yuanming's poems: “Gathering chrysanthemum by the east hedge, my carefree eyes meet the South Mountain afar.” Tzu Chi Yeh was deeply influenced by his father, and from a young age showed talent for calligraphy, and read extensively from classical Chinese literature. From time to time he even experienced the emotions and philosophy embodied in Chinese calligraphy and landscape paintings. When he was 30 (1989), Tzu Chi Yeh traveled to America to further his studies. He received his Masters degree in fine art in New York, and stayed in the U.S. for a total of 19 years. During those long years away from home, his life was simple and plain, and apart from painting his days were mostly spent visiting art exhibitions. Whether it was trips to art museums, galleries, or all sorts of unusual nonprofit art spaces, through a variety of creative forms Yeh was able to absorb the artistic essence of a massive volume of contemporary avant-garde and classical works. He often says that art galleries are his reference books, but art museums are his libraries. Surrounded by a dizzying array of trendy works, he chose to go against the grain and pursue painting’s true tradition (as opposed to traditional painting), seeking a new and deeper cultural direction.

Tzu Chi Yeh's landscape works share many characteristics with portrait paintings; they emphasize contrasts in lighting and atmosphere between background and foreground, which accents the development of space. In some works, the sky occupies more than half of the canvas, giving the works a new breadth and allowing viewers’ eyes to freely roam across the wide horizon. Tzu Chi Yeh's treatment of color is even more original. He uses precise changes in tone and hue to express a unified sense of light, and employs a minimalist composition and subtle arrangement, creating in his paintings a profound tranquility and deep nostalgia. Tzu Chi Yeh's landscapes contain a metaphysical mysticism, and possess the same spiritual consciousness found in the works of the 19th century German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. Each spares no effort in his reverence and praise for Nature and its Divine Creator. Artists use their keen sense of perception and modest attitude to record the travels and travails of their lives onto vast landscapes of mountains and sea. Viewers are invited into the private world of the artist to search for a common memory, one they have seen before. Tzu Chi Yeh once said: “Landscapes are impossible to completely capture, because they are both static and constantly changing, and so it is difficult to portray them accurately. The only thing that can be captured is the experience of the first meeting, what can be recorded is the circumstances surrounding that encounter and its emotional memory.” Landscapes are indeed full of possibilities, because they are extensions of boundaries that multiply endlessly. From Tzu Chi Yeh's paintings we can clearly feel the rhythmic movement of light and shadow: when the canvas turns dark, it quickly becomes light once again, and after it weakens it is soon reborn. This never-ending cycle of light and shadow is a clear metaphor for the natural world’s cycle of life and death, cycling endlessly into eternity.

 

The great phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty once said: "Profundity in a painting does not automatically come from the creation of perspective or the authenticity of the image, but rather the work must have a fighting spirit; it is a representation of imagery that frequently challenges the fundamentals.” Creating a painting of profundity is always the goal of the artist, and as they apply layer after layer of pigment, creating a depth of color in their works there is always a rich sense of change, whether the colors are bright and joyful or dark and gloomy. In Tzu Chi Yeh's landscape paintings of mountains such as MountainsTaroko, Yang-min Mountains, and Sha-mao Mountains, he creates a layered green world that is ever-changing. Time seems to wander about in space, and space dances amid the light and shadow, carrying the viewer into an enormous green maze with treasure and wonder hidden everywhere, and finally leaving them there to roam so freely that they forget where they are. Next, Tzu Chi Yeh's colorful portrayal of the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Taiwan is an even more classical exploration of painting’s profundity. What color of blue is the sea? After viewing the blue sea of Chihsingtan Beach, only then will one know how blue the sea can truly be. The painter meditates on the canvas and searches for a new definition for the cognitive meaning of the relationship between man and the sea, to return anew to the spirit and essence of realistic painting. In the clouds and mist of the mountains and the sea, Tzu Chi Yeh waxes eloquently on the value of "existence" and creates an important meaning for life as it faces the infinity of the universe.

Tzu Chi Yeh's handling of perspective differs from most realistic painters. His ability to authentically construct images originates from an original code, like a distant primeval echo, an invisible source of artistic stimulation that arouses a vanishing, magical image. Whether it is mountain ridges, the sea's horizon, or the borders of cloud layers, they all meld with the first rays of the morning sun, dim light, dusk, and then the black of night. A mystically clear and glimmering light conceals a partially-lit forest, and by employing a classical use of curved space, a sense of boundless distance is created, carrying the viewer into the core of mysticism, where the real appears illusory and filled with every possible aesthetic judgment.

In the three years since Tzu Chi Yeh returned to Hualien from New York, he has lived a secluded life. He spends most of his time carefully and patiently observing the mountains and seas from his childhood. He can watch the sea 24 hours a day from the seaside villa where he lives. He paints the night waves that precede a typhoon and the clear skies in Evening, Port Hualien that follow one, the sea clouds in The Last Day of July, and the grey sea in A Ship on the Misty Ocean. He also paints the East Coast Mountains that face Hualien Harbor. The sea has become an extension of his memory of images, extending from one end of the Pacific to the other. Tzu Chi Yeh once said: "The landscapes that surround me are intimately related to my spiritual journey." Fan-su MountainHualien documents a trip that Yeh's father took him on forty years ago. Turtle Island was an important landmark for Yeh as he traveled back and forth to Taipei. As a frivolous youngster, Yeh once chased his dreams at the enormous mountain next to Taroko's Eternal Spring Shrine. The ridges between the mountains of the Northern Cross-Island Highway hold memories of a trip taken with artist Hsia Yan. ChiliannTaipei paints the place located in Taipei's suburbs where Yeh stayed while grieving for his loss. East Coast is what Yeh remembers most from a trip to Taitung. East Lake, Dong Hwa University portrays a scene Yeh enjoyed after he returned to Hualien to be invited as a resident artist at National Dong Hwa University.

Looking at Tzu Chi Yeh's “Landscape×Taiwan,” we can see the true beauty of Taiwan's mountains and seas, one that has never been revealed before and that offers a deep breath of beauty from life and nature. Through Yeh's works we can see his dedication to his painting and his beliefs, and the deep love and gratitude he feels towards the land where he was born and raised. Like a monk who prays as he passes through the mountains or a traveler who chants as he gazes at the sea, Yeh is focused on pursuing a dialogue with nature, an endless exploration of art's soul.

        

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