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C.N. LIEW - Calligraphic Evolution

Exhibition Duration: 9 -23 April 2011
Opening Reception: 8 April 2011, 6 - 8:30pm

C.N. Liew’s Calligraphic Evolution has been a long journey for a younger artist. With great fortune in his life he made the acquaintance of the great Zen master, The Most Venerable Bo Yuan (1914-2009) who taught him how to channel his consciousness and employ spontaneity with his brush and ink. This is the basis of C.N.’s action painting style. C.N. has also had other great teachers both artistic and spiritual who helped him understand his own talent and encouraged him to explore further within the artistic path he chose to travel. Building on the legacy of a 3000 year old tradition is a daunting task for an artist and creating a new form of an ancient art practice in today’s highly connected and multi-cultural world might seem like an impossible task.

C.N. Liew has done the impossible. He has taken the sometimes-static medium of calligraphy and through his Calligraphic Evolution artworks created something thoroughly contemporary. This body of new work worked on aluminum sheets and layered with characters emit an inner light and suggest a kinship with Abstract Expressionism that pulls influence from the West yet remains thoroughly within the Chinese calligraphic lineage.
The body of works is an extraordinary combination of poetry, calligraphy and painting, with inspirations drawn from classical Chinese literature written by the great Li Bai, Su Shi, Eileen Zhang and Mao Zedong. In each painting, Liew begins by taking the textual content of a selected verse as his inspiration. He then goes on dictating the characters in strokes of acrylic paint, building up layers of calligraphic strokes on a single aluminium plate. We are seeing in C.N. Liew’s Calligraphic Evolution body of work the cutting edge of calligraphy.