The opening ceremony of “In the Pursuit of Eminence in Ink and Brush —— Au Ho-Nien’s Art Exhibition” was held by National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) on March 2, 2018. As one of the NAMOC Donation and Collection Exhibition Series, the display is also one of National Projects of Collection, Donation and Reward of Art Works in 2018.
At the opening ceremony, Director Wu Weishan, Mr. Fan Zeng and Mr. Au Ho-Nien addressed speeches respectively and Mr. Wu Weishan presented the donation certificate to Mr. Au Ho-Nien.
Mr. Wu Weishan said: I appraised Mr. Au as "three scholars" in the preface of the exhibition. He is a gentleman with Chinese traditional humanistic spirit and humanistic characteristic. He is a nobleman who has made outstanding contributions to Chinese painting. At the same time, He is an influential celebrity in the cultural exchange circle across the Taiwan Strait. This "three scholars" compliment is a portrayal of Mr. Au and is composed of his works, poetry, calligraphy and painting and his personality. "Scholar" is the most essential part in Chinese culture which is different from secular and vulgar ones. Scholars, in ideal state of happiness, strive for self-improvement and continuous self-renewal while pursuing dreams in their own lives.
In his speech, Mr. Au reviewed his own artistic insistence. He said: "I have seen prospering Chinese culture as my own career direction since childhood, so I worked hard on poetry, calligraphy and painting. For decades, I have tried my best to paint or sketch from nature, striving to combine the chapter of reading with the ink painting creation. I have made plenty of efforts to practice and study from the chapter of poetry to calligraphy for ongoing decades. He added that "Eminence" in the title showed the approval of people and the country, which made him very touched.
Mr. Au, an artist enjoying a high reputation in painting area in Taiwan, became a student of Master Zhao Shao'ang of Lingnan Painting School at the age of 17, and graduated from Lingnan Arts University. He is a disciple of Lingnan Painting School. His subjects of artistic creation are rich in theme and varied in forms. His paintings cover landscapes, figures, birds and flowers, animals and beasts and calligraphic poems. He has inherited not only the creative tradition of "reconciling the East with the West" of Lingnan Painting School but also the artistic attitude of "blending ancient and modern", making his works diversified in artistic feature. In 1970, Mr. Au was employed by Chinese Culture University in Taiwan, further promoting the painting style of Lingnanism and integrating it into Taiwan's cultural environment. The employment of Mr. Au has not only succeeded in making improvements in artistic traditions, but also provided new artistic choices for local ink-and-brush creation, making great contributions to Chinese traditional culture and artistic spirits.
Mr. Wu Weishan, Director of NAMOC, summarized 2 phrases, "Culture Enlightens Mankind" and "Face Comes from Heart", to describe Mr. Au. He said: "the reason why we invited Mr. Au to come here and hold his exhibition is that we want to make the audience understand how the spirit of Chinese painting is manifested through the creations of artist with strong individual personality, how the mainland and Taiwan spread the blood of Chinese culture in the pulse of the nation, and how the style of Lingnan Painting School is inherited to individual artists, so the exhibition of Mr. Au is inspirational."
About 130 pieces of Chinese paintings, calligraphy and other works of Mr. Au will be exhibited, divided into five chapters to demonstrate his artistic achievements for many years. The first chapter, "Biography of Lingnan", mainly shows his works from the 1950s to the 1980s, presenting his artistic features of Lingnan Painting School in the early years and the process of how the spirit of Lingnan has grown up in Taiwan after he moved there. The second chapter, "Brush Creates Universe", mainly shows his works of landscape, which have placed particular emphasis on sketch with his footprints spreading all over the universe. The grandiose feeling with magnificent mountain and roaring water can be constantly seen in his paintings. In the process of "painting from life" and "painting to show thoughts", he successfully caught the best of Chinese landscapes. The third chapter, "The Wrist Art of Painting Creation," mainly shows his creation of birds and flowers and beasts. As a successor and pioneer of the contemporary Lingnan Painting School, he has explored the ways of Western painting, the change of light and shadow, and the creation of an atmosphere to form his own artistic appearance. The fourth chapter, "Embracing Ancient and Modern", covers his character paintings and calligraphy works. His figure paintings are dominated by ancient costume figures with a bold style of freehand brushwork. The image of calligrapher and painter with ink and brush often appears in his works, and perhaps it is his personal portrayal. In addition to painting, he diligently studied calligraphy and also made achievements in poetry. The calligraphic works and the postscripts on his paintings are often originated from his own poetries, which makes another feature of his art. The fifth chapter, "Full of Lofty Sentiment", mainly shows how he thought and felt and what he saw and gained through his painting study and life. He has a clear understanding of Lingnan Painting School and has a sincere attitude towards Chinese culture and traditional painting with deep feelings. Such feeling flowing in the paintings and calligraphy works will naturally have the power to touch people.
The exhibition is presented at Hall 13-17 in NAMOC and will be on display until March 13 (Closed on Mondays).