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  • Thumbnail for (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony III
    (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony III by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Acrylic on paper; part of twelve-section suite. Like many contemporary painters, Wang Ming works in series; the works in the Fairfield collection are all multiples: the pair of acrylic on canvas works that hang in the Canisius stairwell; the twelve-piece suite on paper on view in the library; the pair of paintings in acrylic on paper in the Quick Center; and the lengthy scrolls painted on paper and mounted on linen that hang in the lobby of the science building. These works indicate the range of style and technique that characterizes Wang Ming's painting, from monochrome brushwork-style painting that alludes to both traditional Chinese brush painting as well as to the gestural painting that was being created in the New York art world when Wang Ming first arrived in the US from China in the mid-20th century; to works of rich and subtle color, to the more bold color and brushwork of the scrolls. All are abstract, as is characteristic of the artist's work in general; his abstract styles may be understood as referencing not only the long tradition of calligraphy as an abstract art form in China and the inherently abstract nature of much traditional Chinese painting but also, again, the avant-garde art movement Abstract Expressionism, which dominated the New York art world in the mid-20th century. Wang Ming's work consciously and seamlessly bridges and unites these varied aspects of his own artistic heritage and interests.

  • Thumbnail for (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony
    (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Piece from Spirit of Harmony, a twelve piece suite, acrylic on paper. Like many contemporary painters, Wang Ming works in series; the works in the Fairfield collection are all multiples: the pair of acrylic on canvas works that hang in the Canisius stairwell; the twelve-piece suite on paper on view in the library; the pair of paintings in acrylic on paper in the Quick Center; and the lengthy scrolls painted on paper and mounted on linen that hang in the lobby of the science building. These works indicate the range of style and technique that characterizes Wang Ming's painting, from monochrome brushwork-style painting that alludes to both traditional Chinese brush painting as well as to the gestural painting that was being created in the New York art world when Wang Ming first arrived in the US from China in the mid-20th century; to works of rich and subtle color, to the more bold color and brushwork of the scrolls. All are abstract, as is characteristic of the artist's work in general; his abstract styles may be understood as referencing not only the long tradition of calligraphy as an abstract art form in China and the inherently abstact nature of much traditional Chinese painting but also, again, the avante-garde art movement Abstract Expressionism, which dominated the New York art world in the mid-20th century. Wang Ming's work consciously and seamlessly bridges and unites these varied aspects of his own artistic heritage and interests.

  • Thumbnail for (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony II
    (Untitled) from The Spirit of Harmony II by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Acrylic on rice paper, section of twelve part suite. The suite of works currently in the library is particularly lyrical in its treatment of color and form. For the most part, there is little to signify that these are Chinese paintings, which is part of what makes the inclusion of these in the project so useful. That is, in the transnational (art) world of the early 20th-century, what makes a work or an artist 'Chinese'? On the other hand, the pair of scrolls (untitled in the checklist, but one of these is his Work with Joy, of 1974, which has been exhibited and published) plays off many traditions of Chinese painting, including the lengthy (narrative) handscroll painted on paper and mounted on cloth, even though it is executed in a style growing out of Abstract Expressionism. The mounting of the two scrolls conforms to tradition. Traditionally, such scrolls were kept rolled up, and to be viewed would be 'read' sequentially, unrolling a portion at a time as one viewed the entire work while holding; thus, viewing such a scroll was an intimate encounter with the work. The current display of the scrolls, where they hang, opened, in a tall vertical space, challenges those traditional notions of how such paintings would be viewed.

  • Thumbnail for #1529 from The Spirit of Harmony
    #1529 from The Spirit of Harmony by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Acrylic on rice paper; 17 1/2 x 23 inches, part of suite of twelve images. Like many contemporary painters, Wang Ming works in series; the works in the Fairfield collection are all multiples: the pair of acrylic on canvas works that hang in the Canisius stairwell; the twelve-piece suite on paper on view in the library; the pair of paintings in acrylic on paper in the Quick Center; and the lengthy scrolls painted on paper and mounted on linen that hang in the lobby of the science building. These works indicate the range of style and technique that characterizes Wang Ming's painting, from monochrome brushwork-style painting that alludes to both traditional Chinese brush painting as well as to the gestural painting that was being created in the New York art world when Wang Ming first arrived in the US from China in the mid-20th century; to works of rich and subtle color, to the more bold color and brushwork of the scrolls. All are abstract, as is characteristic of the artist's work in general; his abstract styles may be understood as referencing not only the long tradition of calligraphy as an abstract art form in China and the inherently abstract nature of much traditional Chinese painting but also, again, the avant-garde art movement Abstract Expressionism, which dominated the New York art world in the mid-20th century. Wang Ming's work consciously and seamlessly bridges and unites these varied aspects of his own artistic heritage and interests.

  • Thumbnail for #3284 from The Spirit of Harmony
    #3284 from The Spirit of Harmony by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Acrylic on paper; section of twelve-part suite. This collection of paintings by the contemporary painter Wang Ming is significant in a number of respects. Wang Ming's paintings have been exhibited in one-person shows at locations around the world, including the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw, the National Gallery of Art, Beijing, the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC., to name only a select few. His paintings are included in the permanent collections of, among many other institutions, the Qingdao Museum of Fine Art, Qingdao, China; the American Embassy in Beijing; the Shangdong Museum of Fine Art in Shandong, China; the Asia and Pacific Museum of Warsaw; the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC; and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The acquisition of these paintings by Fairfield followed a one-person exhibition of the artist's work on campus in 2000); many were donated by the artist to the Fairfield collection. Fairfield's collection may be one of the few of this size of works by this artist. Second, it stands out from most other collections in the ASIANetwork project in that it is contemporary, while most of the paintings showcased in the project involve works of greater antiquity. For Fairfield, the former will become increasingly important over time. For the ASIANet project, however, it is the contemporaneity of these paintings that is of special significance as these paintings provide many possibilities to initiate discussions in the classroom.

  • Thumbnail for #573 from The Spirit of Harmony
    #573 from The Spirit of Harmony by Wang Ming, b. 1922

    Acrylic on rice paper; 22 1/4 x 30 1/4 inches. Part of twelve-section suite of images. Potential topics for discussion that the work of Wang Ming could generate (to mention only a few): abstaction and representation in calligraphy and painting; relationships between the past and the present in contemporary art; the Asian-American experience The suite of works currently in the library is particularly lyrical in its treatment of color and form. For the most part, there is little to signify that these are 'Chinese' paintings, which is part of what makes the inclusion of these in the project so useful. That is, in the transnational (art) world of the early 20th-century, what makes a work or an artist 'Chinese'? On the other hand, the pair of scrolls (untitled in the checklist, but one of these is his Work with Joy, of 1974, which has been exhibited and published) plays off many traditions of Chinese painting, including the lengthy (narrative) handscroll painted on paper and mounted on cloth, even though it is executed in a style growing out of Abstract Expressionism. The mounting of the two scrolls conforms to tradition. Traditionally, such scrolls were kept rolled up, and to be viewed would be 'read' sequentially, unrolling a portion at a time as one viewed the entire work while holding; thus, viewing such a scroll was an intimate encounter with the work. The current display of the scrolls, where they hang, opened, in a tall vertical space, challenges those traditional notions of how such paintings would be viewed.