Nature in Ink and Brush
The Art of Ou Da Wei
24/1/2019 - 30/3/2019
Ou Da Wei is a contemporary Hong Kong artist. At the age of fourteen, he began studying calligraphy and seal-engraving from the Guangdong master Wu Zifu. He self-taught landscape painting and classical poetry at a later age. Ou follows the tradition of literati art, endeavouring to fuse calligraphy, painting, seal and poetry together. His calligraphy shows a heavy inclination towards the epigraphic school and exudes a unique flavor of gauche rusticity. Ou is also skillful at arranging the characters to form captivating compositions. His landscape painting depicts mountain ranges using the brushstrokes of seal and clerical scripts and clouds and water in running and cursive scripts. Commanding calligraphy techniques, Ou successfully creates a wealth of ink landscapes in a special style.
The exhibition showcases around 40 pieces of Ou’s calligraphy, landscape paintings and seals. It testifies to his pursuit of rejuvenating traditional Chinese art.
Message from director
Ou Da Wei practices the traditional literati arts of poetry, calligraphy, painting and seal-carving. It is rare to find an artist who inherits the tradition of Chinese art so comprehensively nowadays. For this, Ou shines as a role-model for Hong Kong’s artists.
Yin-yang lies at the core of traditional Chinese culture. This concept of relativity predicates that everything comprises opposing sides: positive and negative, right and wrong, black and white, long and short, and angular and circular. In art, such differences are manifested as emptiness and fullness, brightness and darkness, varying shades, straight and curved lines in composition, tonality and lines.
Yin-yang originates from light. The ancients believed that light is integral to life. Artwork therefore, needs light to breathe life into it. Take calligraphy as an example, a character is formed by black strokes against white paper. The black lines are yin whereas the white background where light is visible belongs to yang. Another example is the use of a seal in which areas of white signify light.
Typically, there are two carving styles: white character against a red background or red character against a white background. As for painting, the artist applies ink or colour on paper, the empty space of which symbolises light.
Taken together, in accordance to the traditional concept, the absence of empty space precludes light and thus the creation of calligraphy, seal and painting. How much light should be used in the artwork depends on the design of emptiness and fullness.
Ou Da Wei’s art provides a prism through which we can appreciate how light is employed in the literati arts. In his calligraphy, seals and paintings, Ou has broken new ground on composition in which the dynamic interplay between emptiness and fullness energizes the two-dimensional characters and imbues his ink landscapes with life.
Obviously, his calligraphy shows a heavy inclination towards the epigraphic school and exudes a unique flavor of gauche rusticity. Ou is also skillful at arranging the characters to form captivating compositions. His landscape painting depicts mountain ranges using the brushstrokes of seal and clerical scripts, and clouds and water in running and cursive scripts. Commanding calligraphy techniques, Ou successfully creates a wealth of ink landscapes in a special style. He has not only captured the essence of traditional Chinese art but has also transcended it to a higher level.
YEUNG Chun Tong