Further Along

Garden of Mind

Press Release

May 9, 2023 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to present Further Along (越走越遠), an exhibition of works on paper by Chinese artist WANG Tiande. The artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery will feature a new body of work that engages with Chinese poetry, history, and the tradition of brush and ink painting. Framing the collection, dualities between and within the selected works echo the visual interplay between positive and negative space for which WANG is known. The artist’s unique style of landscape “painting” is characterized by his unconventional use of incense, burning away parts of the paper to create outlines of trees, mountains, and rivers that reveal an ink-washed underlayer beneath. The charred landscapes are coupled with pieces of calligraphy, each pairing opening a new channel of discourse around the corresponding textual or mechanical elements of the sources. Further Along will be open to the public from May 24 – July 14, 2023, with an opening celebration hosted on May 27th from 4:30-6:30 PM PST.


Further Along is structured around two distinct but interconnected threads in WANG’s practice, each rooted in the contemporary reimagination of cultural heritage. The artist’s own collection of calligraphy and stele holds an integral place in his studio, with both the content of the written texts and the medium of their creation informing his process. 


In one curatorial grouping, WANG’s works are arranged as diptychs, such as Hermit Tao's Hut in the Snowy Mountain Vista  (陶庐登雪图) and A Returning Boat in the Boundless Expanse of Snow (归舟延雪图). The first landscape is paired with a high-resolution scan of calligraphy from WANG’s personal collection, and the second landscape is paired with a rubbing of a carved stele specially commissioned by the artist to duplicate the same, original piece of calligraphy as the first, but through analog means. Juxtaposing the skilled craftsmanship of traditional carving with the precision of high-resolution scanning technology, WANG explores the conceptual discourse around translation, transcription, and mechanical reproduction. 


Complementing the commentary on technology, originality, and recursion evidenced by the first series of works, Further Along also presents a separate array of WANG’s compositions that reference a book of poetry by Fan Shan (Fan Zengxiang). WANG consciously places his own artistic practice in conversation with Fan Shan, who lived and wrote amid the turbulence of the late Qing dynasty and early Republic period. Relating to Fan Shan’s experience of living in a time of transition and turmoil, WANG attempts to connect with the profound inner world of ancient Chinese scholars from his present-day perspective. The ensuing dialogue between WANG and Fan Shan unfolds across the exhibition and prompts viewers to reflect upon the similarities and differences of each artist’s creative context. 


One such work in dialogue with Fan Shan, entitled Inquiring the Sea in the Secluded Hermitage (隐庐问前海), also marks an exciting development in WANG’s oeuvre. The artist cites it as one of his first satisfactory attempts at incorporating color into his otherwise monochromatic works, referring to the piece as “a new beginning” for his practice. In preparation for his exhibition at Qualia, WANG recalled the specific color that saturated one of his own memories of the Bay Area, referencing one of Fan Shan’s poems as a source of inspiration.


“Around 2016, I visited San Francisco several times and stayed in a hotel by the sea. Each time, while walking along the beach and seeing the blue sky and the sea gradually merging, I always thought about how the sky and water of San Francisco nurtured people from various places, living above and below the mountain. So, I believe that the stretch of sea extending from the side of the hill I painted must be a place where everyone living on this land can look into the distance and reminisce about the past. Therefore, color can sometimes be a true memory, not just a possibility for a new attempt recorded by an artist.”

WANG Tiande


Further Along invites the public to reflect upon WANG’s contemporary interpretation of traditional Chinese painting and Qing Dynasty-era poetry, while engaging with the culture of innovation in Silicon Valley. The exhibition advocates for a humanistic approach to technology that prioritizes the process over the end result, celebrating the symbiotic relationship between the artist’s hand and 21st-century tools and ideologies exemplified by WANG’s practice. 


About WANG Tiande

WANG Tiande (b. 1960 in Shanghai) graduated from the Chinese Painting Department of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the China Academy of Art) in 1988 and later obtained his doctoral degree from its Department of Calligraphy. He is currently a professor at the Fudan University in Shanghai.


Celebrated for his revolutionary takes on traditional Chinese art in China and abroad, WANG Tiande is best known for his burned landscapes, consisting of a painted underlayer and an overlayer burned with incense sticks. More recently, he has incorporated into the landscapes rubbings of famous ancient steles from his own collection. In their fusion of the fleeting and the timeless, Wang Tiande’s works meditate on creation and destruction. They are both elegies to the past and celebrations of its present persistence.


WANGhas had many solo and group exhibitions in major museums, academic institutions, and well-known galleries nationally and internationally. Major museum and academic institution exhibitions include: Nanjing University of the Arts Art Museum (2023); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2021); Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University (2018); National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2018); Guangdong Museum of Art (2017); Beijing Palace Museum Fujian Palace (2015); Suzhou Museum (2014); Today Art Museum, Beijing (2014); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2013); University of the Arts Sydney, Australia (2010); Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, USA (2009); among many others.

WANG’s work has been collected by the British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China; Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China; Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, China; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; among many others.

May 6, 2023 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to present Garden of Mind (借景造園), a solo exhibition of paintings by Taiwanese artist PAN Hsinhua. The artist’s first exhibition at the gallery will feature a series of surreal landscape paintings that fuse traditional aspects of Chinese culture and philosophy with contemporary Taiwanese society and the environment. PAN collapses paradoxical and opposing elements on the picture plane, setting the scene for open-ended narratives unfettered by reality. Viewers will generate their own stories from the labyrinthine worlds depicted within the works, each one limitless in its potential for interpretation. Garden of Mind will be open to the public from May 24 – July 14, 2023, with an opening celebration hosted on May 27th from 4:30-6:30 PM PST.


PAN cites a host of references in his work, including Meticulous Painting and Thangka Painting, while forging a distinctive style all his own. Powdered mineral pigments in vibrant shades are mixed with animal glue to create bold hues with what PAN describes as “Eastern characteristics.” Innovating upon the medium’s opaque finish and limited color palette, PAN has developed a technique that broadens the range of tonalities and textures achievable with this traditional material. The rich colors that result from the artist’s carefully-honed process are reminiscent of the dynamic cave paintings in Dunhuang, weathered over hundreds of years and refined with the patina of time. PAN also adopted the method of boneless wash painting in lieu of outlining and coloring, allowing him to make large-scale works that depict spatial depth and dimension outside of realistic perspective.


From PAN’s technical execution and experimentation to his recurring visual motifs, the dialogue abounds between old and new, past and present. While PAN consciously draws from both ancient and recent history, his own position is decidedly current, situated in a context that is shaped by heritage and tradition. Complex scenes composed of cultural relics – bonsai, literati stones, incense burners, and political statuettes – religious and folk patterns, and facets of both the natural and built environments – concrete, architecture, and Taiwanese flora and fauna – all coalesce around the central figure of a small, enigmatic boy, often in surprisingly formal arrangements that belie his youth. The artist renders these imagined landscapes with a precision that masterfully blurs the entanglements between real and surreal elements.


“I wish to bring sarcasm and ridicule with a touch of humor, allowing the protagonist to pretentiously mock traditions or poetic narratives, like letting a child proceed over some form of ritual performed in the adult world, but in a serious and genuine manner.”

PAN Hsinhua


PAN’s playful configurations employ paradox to highlight the anachronism of the present moment and the complexities of contemporary culture from a Taiwanese perspective. The exhibition presents viewers with invented settings for impossible encounters between unlikely counterparts, often subverting social hierarchies and political ideologies in the process. Garden of Mind invites the public to question these foundational pillars while completing each scene with their own ideas and experiences.


About PAN Hsinhua(b. 1966 in Taimali, Taitung, Taiwan) 

PAN Hsinhua graduated in 1911 from the Taipei National University of the Arts with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and held a teaching position there as an assistant professor from 2011 to 2015. He is currently living and working in Taipei, Taiwan. Celebrated for his unique artistic language, PAN Hsinhua creates surrealistic paintings in the classical Chinese style. He skillfully blends both the past and the present in his artworks, examining the relevance of tradition in contemporary culture.


PAN has exhibited at Taiwan Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan in 2020, and Chengdu Biennale, Chengdu, China in 2013. He has held numerous solo exhibitions in major museums and institutions in Taiwan such as Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei; Life Science Library, Academia Sinica, Taipei; National Central University Art Center, Taoyuan; Accton Arts Foundation, Hsinchu; Art Center of Providence University, Taichung; and in Asia Arts Center, Beijing, China; among others. He was also featured in notable group exhibitions in Taiwan including Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei; Hong-gah Museum, Taipei; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung; Hengshan Calligraphy Art Center, Taoyuan; and internationally at Yinchuan MOCA, Yinchuan, China; Mitsuo Aida Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Saatchi Gallery, London, England; Canberra Museum & Gallery, Canberra, Australia; Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane, Australia; and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, New York, USA.


His works are in the collections of several institutions in Taiwan including the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung; and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung.

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