Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jin Ze Art Center, Qinpu District

Welcome to Jin Ze Art Center, in a river town an hour or so from Shanghai. Christina Shmigel, a wonderful artist, whom I first met in 2005 during her Duolun Museum residency ( and ( invited two friends to take the trek. We met in front of the Shanghai Museum, where the driver from Jin Ze awaited. Despite minimal exposure to textiles previously, I came away transformed, illuminated by the Center's top-notch facilities and its brilliant Director of Textiles Division, Edith Cheung.

At Jin Ze, buildings are restored with exquisite attention to detail.

Our ride for the river, right.

On the water...

The town was built in the Yuan Dynasty period, 1,300 years ago.

Three hole bridge - the oldest one on the river

Texture on a medieval path

And texture in a local shop

Everyone participates in village life

Back at the Center, a Japanese loom. The weaving building boasts a beautiful collection of looms, including several of these, a four-pedal loom, many others, and a spinner!

An example from the workshop, which was concluding the day we were there. Edith Cheung, Director of Textile Division, instructs students simply and succinctly before setting them loose to create in the way they work best.

From Jin Ze's textile collection: leg wraps 

Sleeves lined in batik

Embroidery and patchwork

Neckwear, made from small parts assembled into larger pieces. Cheung said that replacement pieces could often be found in antique shops.

Headwear. Hat on right dips in back so that a banana leaf can be attached for temporary rainwear. Hat on the front left is made from the brown growth underneath palm fronds.

Miniature looms.

Dry pigments. And this is just a small glimpse of the treasures there...

Jin Ze Art Center will participate in the 9th Annual Shibori Symposium, in Hangzhou,  October 31 - November 4, 2014.  To find out more about the event, visit
To find out more about Jin Ze, visit

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Shanghai Gallery of Art: Present-ing Recital Louder Than Paint

Curated by Joseph Ng, this show "brings together artists to explore the terrains of contemporary painting, actively challenging the conventional framing and contextualizing mechanisms through which their practices are often situated." This is a common practice by now, and this show was quietly exciting. (This particular work I believe is Chen Shiaoxing's Collective Memory/The Oriental Tower Nocturne, 2009, ink pad on canvas).

Yan Lei's SH2 Color Wheel, 2013, diameter 200 cm

Detail of the meticulous frame

Yang Mian's CMYK-Untitled No. 1. 2014, 240 x 190 cm, acrylic on canvas

The curatorial mission is to unite differences within a single space: "a labyrinth of collectiveness, drawing on new dialogues initiated as a coherent language of painting define and shared."

Huang Yuxing, The bubble will not break, and the time will not be flowing from the past to the future, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 175 x 275 cm

The exhibition also "explores painting's ability to absorb and amplify experiences through an intense material engagement, as a tool for questioning perception." Aesthetics focus on material decisions.

Wang Zhibo's Jungle, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 94 x 100 cm

Brushmarks, painted in silver on silver grounds, reveal expressive gestures that build form; there is a strong relationship to ink painting.

Opening night view of Bi Rongrong's Moving Greyscale, 2014, 1200 x 400 cm, acrylic on wall and window shades

Bi Rongrong's 30 x 40 oil paintings, Virtual Studio II and Virtual Studio I

View of Moving Greyscale (daytime view)

Here, the sylvan view sweeps across the Bund, confounding place and time

Li Bo's Belief Toward A Certain Method I, mixed media, 220 x 66 cm

(From press release, the show "also explores painting's ability to absorb and amplify experiences through an intense material engagement, as a tool for questioning perception.")

Ni Youyu, micro painting on metal: Skull, 2012, 2.2 cm diameter

Wu Jian'an's Round Sky-Square Earth-Triangle Mountain-Unity, 2014, color wax on wood board, 90 x 70 x 7 cm

Gao Lei's L-70, raised blanket, aluminum mesh, 200 x 150 cm (image way too dark--the aluminum mesh is compressed against the frame, which holds it in).

reminiscent of Zhang Enli's last show at Hauser & Wirth in the reductive geometry

and Roll, a sculptural work that slowly collapses in the show's duration
Gao Lei, Roll, 2014, raised blanket, aluminum mesh

Roll, seen from the first entry hall of the show. Back to the press release: "the appearance of light is considered not simply as color or absence of substance or part of nature, but also as space--such as that residing between objects and visual constructions, as if to demonstrate how do we shape 'illumination'?"

On the street leaving the gallery.