After having resided in France for years, Chan Kin Chung finally chose to settle down in Guangzhou, China. His oeuvre is a beguiling mixture of occidental oil painting style and oriental humanistic spirit, which can be divided into the “Composition Series” in the early stage of his career and the “Landscape Series” in the late.
[Spring Breeze] is a piece of Chan’s “Landscape Series” created in the late stage of his career.
In the mid-1980s, Chan started to experiment with different subject matters by drawing inspirations from natural landscapes. From Richard Valley in France to eastern Guangdong in China, from valleys and fields to bamboo forests and vegetables gardens, he not only recorded the picturesque scenery around him, but also infused his paintings with genuine affection for his place of residence.
Chan’s realistic techniques shown in his “Landscape Series” is to some extent different from those in his “Composition Series.” By way of comparison, the former, which consists mainly of color blocks, accentuates simple and unfettered brushstrokes, while the latter gives prominence to delicate and distinct ones. On a more specific basis, “Landscape Series” roughly outlines shapes and omits trivial details, putting emphasis on the use of chiaroscuro and shades of colors.
The reason why Chan’s landscape paintings stand out from the crowd is that, as art critic Joseph Che-hsiung Wang argued, “the sky has never been an essential element in Chan’s landscape paintings. He either completely excludes it, or draws only a narrow strip of it in the upper part of the composition. Even though the sky occupies half of the composition in the minority of his paintings, it is no more than an extension of the ‘stillness’ of the terrestrial landscapes (we’ve not seen so much as white clouds scudding across the blue sky).”
From this argument, we may infer that Chan’s landscape paintings have aimed not so much at photorealistic imitation as at a sort of spiritual construction and choice. Imbued with his personal experiences and feelings, Chan’s oeuvre embodies a strand of reflection and a style of materialization.
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