Painting as a spiritual portal of humanity - Art Collector

Chang Chen-Yu, Covergence of the Gods, 2013. Oil on canvas, 175 x 72cm.

By Jason Chung Tang Yen

Combining philosophy and his artistic practices, Taiwanese artist Chang Chen-Yu often explores the emptiness of the intrinsic values of art. In other words, the audience can only perceive the imagery created by the artist from their own perception, which depends on themselves. Chang says: “Water is empty, people see water, but fish see it as their home.” Just like water, Chang’s work contains a mesmerizing fluidity and spirituality that works like a mirror of still water. Chang is keen on the study of religion and philosophy in the west prior to the age of 25. After decades of searching he proclaimed that Buddhism was one of the greatest revolutions of mankind more than 26 million years ago.

The uncertainty, chaos, mystery; the unfathomable aspects of the universe serve as the central ideology of Chang’s paintings in his most recent showcase at Mingshan Art Gallery in Taipei. The visuals are evidently a contemporary incarnation of the old Literati painting in ancient China with western medium: oil on canvas. While preserving the poetics of the landscape, Chang’s black-and-white palette is without the presence of humans; however, the absence of man questions the presence, inciting thoughts of the interaction between nature and Homo sapiens.

The paintings investigate the spirituality of the observer while interrogating the nature of the concepts itself, which then create a stimulating dialogue through time and space. The end is the beginning, and Chang finds a pathway that bridges both worlds. While skillful in his brushstrokes, Chang’s clever mix of ideas and local cultural roots result in an ongoing conversation between the viewers and the oeuvre. The 58-year-old artist holds an MFA from the New York State Art Institute and was the former director of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. His work is in prestigious private collections across Asia.

Chang Chen-Yu’s
The Convergence of the Earth and Sky: Chang Chen-Yu’s Imagery of the Universe shows at Mingshan Art in Taipei from 4 July to 2 August 2015.

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