From the representational to the abstract
Into a world of spiritual imagery
Before Zhou Su Yin turned sixteen, she had already had more than ten years of training under master Chen Mo Zhi, using traditional Chinese freehand brushwork in flower-and-bird painting. During those years, Su Yin’s constant companions were ink and water. She learnt the basic techniques of brush strokes: ‘even, rich, dense, solid, and pliable’. She also learnt the various ways to apply ink: ‘thick, thin, mixed, layered, sprinkled, dried, and aged’. She was given a rigorous and proper training in composition and color variation, in the creation of overall artistic effects, and in the profound philosophy behind Chinese calligraphy and seal cutting. Her talent was evident at a very early age. The present exhibition is a testimony to her years of hard work and devotion to the art of painting.
In 2004, Zhou Su Yin entered the Columbia University in New York. In an environment which champions total artistic freedom, Su Yin has opted to continue with her Chinese ink and wash painting. Embracing both the spirit of eastern philosophy and western culture, she endeavors to elevate Chinese ink and wash painting to ever-widening horizons. ‘Water’, according to Chinese philosophy, embodies the notions of ‘vastness, equilibrium, tranquility, fluidity, audacity, flexibility and informality’. In short, all is possible with water. When combined with ink, it creates random abstractions; when combined with ink on China’s particular Xuan paper , a piece of art is born: from apparent chaos, water and ink mysteriously morph into endless formations, varying in touch and pace, rising and falling by turns…giving full play to the taste and characteristics unique to the East. Chinese ink and wash painting can best convey the kind of mood sought by eastern aesthetics. Its mystic abstractions are a reflection of Lao-Zhuang’s philosophy. True to eastern aesthetics, the art of ink and wash painting is an unending process from the representational to the abstract, from the abstract to imagery, and from imagery to the philosophical. The abstract ink and wash painting at the present exhibition originates from the representational, transforms into the abstract and moves on to the spiritual. One can follow this process in the silence of ink and water, silent yet with its own voice, a voice of silence, like the sounds of nature…