Thursday, June 28, 2018

國際當代藝術中心戴明德畫展 7/8 講座

Acton, MA – Contemporary Arts International (CAI), a nonprofit art center, announces the interdisciplinary exhibition in CAI’s Gallery. Curated by Viktor Lois, the exhibition entitled Before the End of the Journey: Paintings of My Older Brother” by Taiwanese artist Ming-Te Tai will be open to the public from July 8 to Oct 8, 2018. This is our anchor show of the year.  An Opening Reception and Artist Talk will be held on July 8 at 2:00PM.
A collection of more than 40 paintings in this exhibition utters empathetically the struggle of human distress and despair. Through an artistic recording of the artist’s brother’s last period in his life journey, Tai expresses from the bottom of his soul the humanity’s deepest fear toward the end of our destiny. Each painting elucidates a level of elevation in the artist’s heart.  Tai’s motive unequivocally gives a total artistic Life to his brother, and makes “before the Ending of the Journey” tangible.
As the artist’s statement stated: “… the year 2012 was the last period of my late older brother with a terminal oral cancer. I looked at his weak and fractured cheeks and body, and felt the urge to record the last of him in images. However, the section from his nasal cavity to his neck is bandaged with gauze with blood oozing out, I could not bring myself to lift the cold camera and press the shutter to the brutal scene. I started drawing his portrait on the thin wrapping paper from his medical supply kits. Needless to say, my mind was filled with chaotic thoughts and the anxiety on our rapidly approaching eternal separation... 
Two years later, the doodling was transformed into this painting series. 
Tai writes further: “…My older brother and I were 17 years apart, our relationship is in many ways like that of a father and son. His build was burly, his character with a strong sense of righteousness, he often took a leadership role among his peers, and frequently got into fights with local gangsters when he was young and unruly. Even though they were outnumbered ten to one, he persisted in the bloodshed until the end. His job took him traveling constantly until an illness drove him back to his hometown to become a ‘good citizen’. I marveled at his value of life. To me, the suffering state of his predicament was no different from that of a saint! Paintings of my Older Brother perhaps are autobiographical revealing my fear in facing my own end in the future.”

The series, though a portrait of the artist’s brother, is obviously not a depiction of his appearance but the apprehension of his vigilance, courage, and witness of the easy attitude he beheld when facing excruciating pain.

When asked about the process of creating these paintings, Tai articulates that this series was first painted with trembling hands when Tai directly faced his brother and sketched him. Based on the draft, after the brother passed away, a large number of interpretive finer sketches were produced. Tai freely employed diverse materials to express himself in various stages of anxiety and despair. Tai explored the integration of acrylics and mixed materials for presentation. Through acrylics and the cutting, covering, filling in color, and blooming on vinyl cuttings, the resulting imagery was extremely similar to that of woodcut prints, expressing the harshness, strength and life-like movement of the figure in the painting. In the dark-colored area with moist ink, the symbol of time delivers the reference and inference of the Paintings of “My Brother” heading to the end of his Life. The linear cut marks overlap and intersect, vacillating between certainty and uncertainty. They weave the direct contact and treatment of the separation and pain.

The emotional imagery in the show resonates the famous print/painting “Scream” by Edvard Munch, not only the subject matter of expressing the artist’s inner thoughts and strong feeling, but also its swirling movement, rhythm and intensity. Munch’s extreme despair completely override the painterly application, the “Scream” hits the viewer with a solely direct feeling of anxiety. As Munch’s diaries read: "I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous infinite scream of nature." Like Munch, Tai Ming-Te’s paintings express not merely psychological agony but also physical suffering on the edge of insanity. Munch is from Norway, Tai is from Taiwan, the common denominator is their extraordinary human feeling. Through art, they both evoke the empathy in our hearts.

Both Yin and Viktor have known Tai personally since 2005, and witnessed the dedication and even the near “madness” in which he created and lived his art. Touched by Tai’s authenticity and artistic spirit, they brought this series to New England to share with the Western viewers a glimpse of this moving and critical Asian artist, whose voice and life journey we all, at various degrees, one time or other, have encountered.

Tai has obtained his Master of Fine Arts from the Tainan National University of the Arts, and is an Associate Professor of Visual Art at the National Jiayi University in Taiwan.

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