Chinese Wind and String Instruments;
Muse over Things in the Remote Past
Red and green are eye-opening colors, which can be the art of sight and the art of space. Music is for the ears, which can be the art of hearing, the art of time. Two seemingly un-related types of art merge in Li-wei’s outstanding western oil painting techniques and his use of oriental traditional instruments, maiden pictures, pavilions and towers, antiques and landscapes. He portrays the elegant but implicit emotions of oriental female music scenes. The colors are rich and wondrous, lively and refreshing. To see his painting is to hear the music, which evokes a muse over things in the remote past. It also reminds us of painter Gu Hong-zhong’s work “Han Xizai Evening Banquet,” in the Five Dynasties period Southern Tang. And Tany Dynasty poet, Bai Ju-yi‘s “The Pipa Tone,” in which the line goes “It was after hundreds and thousands of invitations before she showed herself. Even then, she held her pipa close and revealed only half of her countenance. She picked a few notes as she tightened and tuned her pipa strings, evoking a sentimental appeal even before a melody was played. “
Oil paintings were first introduced by missionaries to China. Later, Giuseppe Castiglione, Pan Tin Zhang and Ignaz Sichelbarth also presented the royal court with oil paintings, bringing the techniques to the Qing dynasty. Giuseppe Castiglione (1688~1766) absorbed oriental beauty of pen and ink and added this knowledge to his western oil painting style. He became a famous figure who combined the East and the West. Afterwards, western art became more popular in the east and oil painting also became more widely accepted. Styles of the east and of the west are quite different with merits on each. Li-wei practiced the more realistic western oil painting style. However, under the influence of traditional oriental maiden paintings, the visual result is a perfect combination of the east and the west: full of beauty and fun.
Li-wei and I become friends because of the Internet. When he painted “Melodies of Oriental Instruments,’ he often consulted me about instruments so he could paint more vividly and accurately. This is how diligent and careful Li-wei is. Today, his works will be shown in an exhibition. Li-wei asked me to write a preface for him. I am not an expert in painting so I dare not comment much. I just want to commemorate our friendship and wish Li-wei all the best for his exhibition.
Lin Chiang San Feb. 5th, 2017