Derived from a unique observation of nature, the invigorating works by the free-minded CHIANG Chiu are poetic as they are sincere, with the painter’s passion evident in every stroke. Born in 1964 in a remote area of China, CHIANG led a pristine life growing up in an environment surrounded by nature. “I have always loved drawing as a child. When I was six or seven years old, I needed to help my parents herd. There were many big flat stones alongside the road, so I would pick up a nail and draw on them. Getting older, I then looked for new cupboards in neighbors’ home to decorate them with painting,” recalled CHIANG. It was this childhood experience that gave rise to his refreshing depictions of landscape and the power of nature. Curator LIN Chuan-Chu commented that the demand for originality in contemporary art has resulted in an exhaustion of art forms with works permeating anxiety. In contrast, CHIANG’s paintings communicate not only freshness, honesty and vitality, but also the unlimited freedom of creativity brought by an inimitable set of motivations and ideas.
In the exhibition, CHIANG Chiu’s paintings are divided into three categories--Landscape, Portrait and Abstract. CHIANG depicted the blue sky, beautiful clouds, expansive meadows and mysterious mountains and temples in his home town, as well as sceneries of Taiwan where he has spent the past 18 years, such as the coastline of Turtle Island, night scenes of Taipei and rice paddies and farmhouses in the countryside. Meanwhile, his genuine portraits are a testimony to his religious faith, with subjects including the Two-armed Mahakala, 17th Karmapa and his mother divinized and beautified.
CHIANG paints strictly from imagination rather than live observation of subjects. In this way he becomes a man of his own creative act, a practitioner of his own believes and a subjective painter who not only dictates every form, color and style of his works but at the same time achieves persistence of self. However, as persistence of self is something that should be avoided in the doctrine of his religion, CHIANG resolves the dilemma by instead deploying abstraction as his artistic language. And it is because of his acceptance and observation of man’s ever-complex mind that he can switch so comfortably between realism and abstraction. In curator LIN Chuan-Chu’s eyes, this is as much a conversation of religious thinking as it is a dialogue between aesthetics and poetry. “The best surreal and abstract paintings perhaps originate from poetic thoughts, and not rational revolt of art.” A man of religion and a self-taught artist, CHIANG benefits from ultimate artistic freedom, and the result is a body of artworks that are intense, defined and profound.