Feb 182008

Ming has demonstrated a keen eye for impressionism in his interpretation of such great masters as Monet and Cezanne. Although his variety is somewhat darker, “messier” than the originals, compressing homage with seeds of disruption — a development one would expect from a contemporary artist — the confident handling of the painterly vocabulary of the art movement evokes nostalgia and a renewed sense of trust in the classic repository. It is reassuring that artists still hold the keys to it, visit its brilliant galleries and occasionally allow the rest of us in, offering a new angle or sometimes simply a visual commentary.


Prague impressionism


Ming’s exercise with impressionism may include both. Unrehearsed and impressionistic bordering on the extreme brushwork dominates the paintings almost physically, connecting the viewer to the artist’s vision in palpable and instinctive thrusts. There is something violent in how the paint lays on the surface, creating a mystifying effect of the artist’s hand still conjuring; invisible, yet present. I think that some of these effects arise as necessary modern adjustments: Monet’s packed, busy cityscapes (such as Rue Montorgueil with Flags, Musee d’Orsay, Paris) force the creative disciple towards radical solutions; the artist here displays historic sensibility in the treatment of this subject.


yakuza impressionism city night


In the two above pieces the artist touches the theme of anonymity in the big city, the threatening and overwhelming effect that urban environment exerts on its residents, without the smallest consequence, so it would seem, to itself. But the city in many ways is the people that inhabit it, and the damage it inflicts on the living scars its social fabric. Ming reflects on this reciprocality by presenting both a maximalistic, generalized view, and a particular portrait of two young men, confident, yet adverse and alienated. The background of city lights only emphasizes the complexity that occupies many modern philosophers and theorists, to remain unresolved.


garden impressionism


Overall, the artist’s version of impressionism is a centaur of ideas. He serves tradition on a plate of his own making — and it’s decorations may be so vivid as to confuse the viewer as to where one ends and the other begins. The painter seeks to express the global trend of national exchange (the depicted city is Prague, the two men are apparently Yakuza); I think, however, that in order to derive the most from his art, one needs to abandon all attempts at differentiation,  and enjoy the dish as it is.

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