August 7, 2015

A New Fine Line: Contemporary Ink Painting from China


Artists Zhang Qing demonstrates traditional Chinese ink painting at CVA as part of A New Fine Line: Contemporary Ink Painting from China – on view August 7 – October 24, 2015.

In this video artist Zhang Qing demonstrates traditional methods used in Chinese ink painting in a style known as gongbi. This realist technique uses highly detailed brushstrokes to depict figural or narrative subjects. The gongbi style originated 2000 years ago during the Han Dynasty in China which favored the advancement of art. These techniques are still used today by contemporary artists who are exploring new methods to incorporate with this style of traditional ink painting.

Starting with a sketch on canvas the artist slowly adds layers of transparent ink to the work. It can take months to finish a piece because the ink must dry between the many layers that it takes to achieve a rich tone. Using brushes made from different animal hairs the artist can add broad washes or very fine detailed. There are even brushes used just to add water in order to change the color of the ink in a specific area. After several layers of ink colors developed and the work becomes more complete.

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Tools used in ink painting

How do you think ink painting has evloved over the centuries?