展览主题|Title：绘事笔记 “Notes on Painterly Matters”
艺术家|Artist:张艳娜 Zhang Yanna
展览地点|Address： 北京市朝阳区崔各庄乡草场地甲8号醉库国际文化创意园·A5 兰空间
Zuiku lntemational Cultural Park of Caochangdi,Airport Service Road Chaoyang dist-rict. A5 （LAN SPACE)
“Notes on Painterly Matters”“Zhang Yanna Solo Exhibition ”
When painting becomes entrapping or tortuous, and I’m unable to continue to paint, I sometimes revisit certain figures in the history of fine arts. Glancing back at Matisse, his paintings feel mundane to the point where we barely take notice of them anymore. As we scrutinize them even further, it’s only natural they don’t elicit from us the same excitement as back in our student days. We can soberly disassemble them and look at them with a rational pair of eyes. Perusing them in this way, we find they are riddled with flaws and poor brushstrokes, and yet as a whole they are simply terrific. This can be likened to artist Feng Zikai’s exclamation in praise of a calligraphy piece by his senior Wu Changshuo: “Points which you consider flawed as you home in on them, clear up as you take in the bigger picture. The work would lose its appeal without them.” Feng Zikai used the word “appeal” (mei), which in the context of traditional Chinese painting refers to “being possessed of a vivid appeal” (qiyun shengdong), meaning that when striving for a total integration of vitality all throughout the painting, the artist cannot but get rid of the small in favor of the big. Although such “vivid appeal” can also be found in Western paintings, this vital, spirited energy (qi) isn’t usually magnified to the same extent as in their Chinese counterparts.
Previously, my response when looking at a Matisse was one of extreme emotionality, whereas now, looking at his works rationally, my response is a highly rational one. Every color section and shape, be it dark- or light-colored, thickly applied or diluted, large or small, slanting or straight, not a single point is left up to chance: each element exists in function of the whole. Given the structural rigorousness of these works, the slightest change can alter the whole painting, which is what arouses my interest. As I borrow from the structure of these masterly tableaus, it dawns on me how adept I used to be at painting the small. As countless minutiae accumulated and formed into a painting, I turned a blind eye to the larger dimension, and was naturally unable to abandon the small in favor of the big, or comprehend the true secrets that lay hidden within the painting.
Hence, having become aware of the erudite refinement of painting, my mood to further pursue it has returned.