Jing Liu is one of the featured artists in the Inheritance to Innovation exhibition at the Welcome Swallow gallery in Hamilton.
Authentic Chinese watercolour paintings on rice paper scrolls, mounted on silk, will provide a rare treat for art lovers and scholars in Hamilton over the next two months.
The artworks can be seen in a new exhibition titled Inheritance to Innovation at the Welcome Swallow gallery, which starts on Friday and runs until July 16.
The show will feature the work of three Chinese artists – Yong Ming Liu, his daughter Jing Liu, and Dejin Lu – each of whom are deemed to be expert in their respective fields.
Welcome Swallow trustee Clive Gilson said the exhibition was organised after Jing Liu, who lives in Hamilton, visited the gallery – which specialises in works by watercolour artists – and offered to exhibit.
“I immediately said yes. It’s not the kind of offer you want to turn down.
“Chinese art is unique in the world in that they have the only culture that has not been mucked around with, in terms of influence from other cultures,” Gilson said. “It is something that has developed and grown completely on its own.
“It’s really exciting to be able to bring that perspective to Hamilton. The full swathe of Chinese history will be represented at this exhibition.”
The exhibition’s title alludes to how, throughout Chinese history, the practice of art is first learned by rote, in which the master shows the “right way” to draw. Every generation of new artists is encouraged to demonstrate mastery of continuous brush strokes and movement until it becomes instinctive.
However, in contemporary times, debates have established the limits of that tradition. Within modern art scenes, innovation is now more the rule. As with Western traditions, changing lifestyles, tools, and colours are also influenced by new waves of master painters.
The exhibition spans these artistic canons. Several of Yong Ming Liu’s watercolours scrolls are based on his interpretation of masters that were painting during the Ming Dynasty, about 650 years ago.
Jing Liu, while inheriting many of the Chinese artistic methods and traditions from her father, takes an innovative approach that includes mixing sketching on rice paper with traditional watercolours.
Dejin Lu’s paintings present a light, expressive traditional style known as Xieyi that requires a deft and delicate use of watercolours and, when required, a careful balance between water and ink. His compositions frequently feature New Zealand subject matter.
All of the 28 artworks in the exhibition are for sale.