Contemporary Artists/Traditional Forms: Chinese Brushwork @ Bruce Museum

A fabulous new show is on exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich through December 28 and features the U.S. debut of 15 pieces of contemporary Chinese brushwork gifted to the Town of Greenwich as part of the 2019 U.S.-China Art and Culture Exchange. The exhibition introduces visitors to the basic tools and concepts that inform these works of art and presents these pieces in their historical and present-day contexts.

Also known as water-painting, brushwork has a long and illustrious history in China. The art form developed from the practice of calligraphy, or “Beautiful Writing,” sometime during the Han Dynasty (220-589 AD). Traditionally, brushwork was not practiced by professional artists but by amateurs colloquially known as scholar artists, who prided themselves on their mastery of calligraphy and incorporated painting into their poems. Today the legacy of the scholar artist lives on in China and in the creation of these contemporary works of art.

This exhibition highlights the connections between calligraphy and traditional brushwork by exploring the time-honored practice of water-painting by contemporary scholar artists. In the traditional calligraphic practice, artists copy the masterworks of previous generations in order to learn to create their own works. Each of the artists in the exhibition uses an established language of brushstrokes, natural images, and color washes to express their own unique point of view.

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