Painting is to the artist a language without words. While its syntax varies with painters, it invariably tells a stories of colours and space-time that come to pass on a still plane. Similar to the journey of life, the process of painting bears greater significance than its conclusion. Ma always wonders if there have ever been a painting regarded perfectly complete in the eyes of the painter; this condition of ever incompleteness allows many masterpieces from times of old to radiate a sense of openness to possibilities, and offers diverse viewing experience through the traces over time of overlapping strokes as well as the implied space between layers of colours. The differing means to keep record of the process give rise to differing methods of creation, and this in turn keeps us busy pondering over the nature of painting.
As a language, painting is always in continuous tense. Within different temporal contexts, the chemistry between the fluidity a painting maintains and the immutable setting of the exhibition space sparks unanticipated interactions across time and space in divergent ways. It may be said that a painting is inspired by a myriad of chance revelations to the soul with its senses open. Although the more effective way to view a painting is through direct visual perception instead of exercising the cognitive mind, the process of painting cannot be advanced without reason’s close scrutiny; feelings and sentiments open doors of possibilities readily, but it is the painter’s rational mind and logical judgment that keep him company on his way to the destination his heart desires. Time continues to flow by, and no man can grasp a single moment no matter how important it is to him. For a minute we may be overjoyed, the next that feeling of felicity is nowhere to be found. The interlacing and contention between sense and sensibility is evident throughout the process of painting, and will unfold itself to viewers a little at a time.
Dense layering is one device of expression Ma uses for showing Ma’s painting process. To him, all colours fall into two groups: those that are transparent and those not. On top and underneath, visible and invisible, colours in various ways of juxtaposition come into being in the painting process, weaving a story of colours, time and space that tells about his story. Attached to the canvas as they are, he sees them also subsisting in the space-time continuum.
About the exhibition
Dates: 24 May – 20 July, 2018
Venue: Leo Gallery
Courtesy of the artist and Leo Gallery, for furthre information please visit www.leogallery.com.cn.