The Art of Hung Hoi
21/7/2016 - 27/8/2016
Hung Hoi is a contemporary Hong Kong artist. He began to study landscape painting under his father at a young age. After studying under prominent artists and sketching in mountains, Hung developed a new type of monochrome landscape painting, delineating mountains and trees in delicate lines. Later when he was exposed to Western art, he experimented with western materials to depict oriental moods.
The exhibition “Envisioned Landscape: The Art of Hung Hoi” features over sixty sets of Hung’s paintings from across three decades including monochrome landscape, sketching in ink, abstract painting in ink and colour as well as landscape in acrylic. It is an exploration into the art of Hung Hoi, discovering how he innovates while emulates tradition and fuses Eastern and Western art.
Message from director
The characteristic of traditional Chinese painting is demonstrated by its use of ink to simulate varying shades of hues. Even without the use of the five main pigments, viz. red, yellow, blue, white and black, artists can still vividly capture the colour and essence of objects with myriad tones of ink, known as the "five tints of ink" technique. Traditional literati artists are studious with this approach and skilfully blend ink and water to portray themes of different genres, for instance flower-and-bird, landscape and figure paintings.
Like the literati artists, Hung Hoi focuses on natural landscape as the subject, and brushwork technique. His landscape paintings can be categorised into two, those realistically rendered in baimiao (plain drawing) method, and others in freehand ink wash.
Baimiao method sketches shapes with lines, like drafting prior to filling in with colours. Since the lines only feature the contour of the object, sketches are also known as huayang (pictorial drawing). As lines are in monochrome colour, they are also described as suhua or baihua (plain sketch). In comparison with
Western painting style, baimiao is similar to lifelike sketching, with both using monochrome colour. The former attempts to resemble the shape of the object, whereas the latter takes a more realistic representation illustrating the light and shade. Traditional Chinese painters apply mainly ink for the lines, whereas murals in Dunhuang were rendered with vermilion.
Hung's baimiao paintings in ink and cinnabar evolve from tradition. His consistent and powerful lines and strokes together with suitable deployment of blank spaces render the lofty rocks and peaks expressive with depth and clarity. These exemplify his solid grounding in, and dexterity with brush and ink. The paintings of nature without being formulaic exude infinite charm for the viewers to enjoy.
In traditional Chinese art, tonal gradation serves to create light and shade. Artists often couple this method with meigu (boneless) approach. In meigu, lines are not used to sketch the shapes; myriad shades of colours are employed instead to present shading and perspective realistically.
Hung handles tonal gradation primarily in ink and water. His masterworks demonstrate the effectiveness of "five tints of ink". Hung is enamoured of life sketching. Natural sceneries rendered under gradation of ink are transposed to xieyi (freehand) style. Yet, they are not abstract because the origin of the scenes can be identified by architecture and mountain ranges therein.
In essence, Hung has inherited the tradition of literati painting. Literati painters pride themselves in lifelike sketching and draw their inspiration from nature. They also envision a landscape in mind bestowed upon their adulation and inclination. As such, artists coalesce nature (tian) and emotion into one to reveal “the harmony between nature and mankind”. This was an art theory adopted from painters since the dynasties. Conjointly, Hung diligently inculcate these concepts in his artistic creation.
Hung’s works encompass traditional blue-and-green colours, baimiao and ink wash. However, the landscapes depicted in these traditional techniques engender a contemporary charm. Through intensive study and extensive travel, Hung has created his own unique style. Embodied with his emotion and conception, nature delineated under Hung’s brushstrokes is enigmatically enchanting.
Hung has broken new ground in the pursuit of art. He carves out his personal style with creative endeavours of previous masters to reach the peak of excellence of his artistic career. The museum extends its warmest gratitude to Hung for sharing with the public his works of distinctive style and outstanding accomplishment.
YEUNG Chun Tong
Editor: QIU Su Min
2016, hardcover, Chinese/English, 112 pages, 23.5 x 31 cm
A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring 64 sets of paintings by Hung Hoi with different media, including baimiao, sketch in ink and colour as well as acrylic.