Ring of Fire: The Art of Wucius Wong
November 7 - December 5, 1998
The exhibition held in our New York gallery between November 7 and December 5, 1998 is the sixth in our series of exhibitions devoted to the work of contemporary Chinese painters. “Ring of Fire ” celebrates the recent work of Wucius Wong (Wang Wuxie), the Hong Kong-based artist who ranks among the most significant of living masters. At first sight many of the paintings in this exhibition might seem to mark a sharp and complete break with the millennia-long tradition of Chinese ink painting, which manifested its roots in a narrative approach to painting far into the present century. It was Wucius’s consciousness of tradition, however, that allowed him to break free of traditionalism. Whereas many artists are unaware of the precise nature of their debt to the past and to their contemporaries, and thus are doomed to remain constrained by those unacknowledged mentors, Wong has studied, analyzed, and used his sources consciously to expand his artistic vocabulary, gathering up the threads of past and present experiences in a grand and ever-evolving synthesis, which is evident when one confronts the paintings presented in the exhibition. One will note in these works, which range from ink on paper and acrylics on canvas to varying combinations of these seemingly disparate elements new textures, tones, and harmonies, resulting from the artist’s search for techniques by which to manifest the rapidly-changing world around us all. This exhibition owed most to Wucius Wong himself: not just for providing the paintings and a truly illuminating essay for Kaikodo Journal X, but also for the exemplary manner in which he has always pursued his personal vision and goals, with passion and integrity within the confines of his profession.