In my recent exploration of traditional Chinese landscape paintings, I have come to really appreciate the subtle restraint often seen in this genre of art. While the themes of mountains, rivers and waterfalls are clearly prevalent, I love the use of muted greens, ink, watercolours and ample white space that leaves room to breathe in and experience the paintings more through suggestion than very literal depictions.
I have not only enjoyed abstracting my own interpretations of this art form, but also reflecting more on different aspects of my own Chinese identity. Being Canadian born Chinese, growing up in Hong Kong, moving between Canada and Hong Kong and experiencing all the subtleties of being on the “outside” as an immigrant in various ways, but ultimately finding harmony within myself.
At the end of the day, this set of paintings is a gentle call to strive to see the essence of who we are no matter what our background or circumstances. As I approached this exercise in abstraction of these landscape paintings, I was not trying to capture figures and scenery accurately but trying to put my take on harmony and life giving elements of nature.
I hope these paintings give you that space to see the essence of what is around you as well as inside of you.