Force of Nature, The Power of the Brush


Exhibition Opening Reception and Symposium Details
Date: Saturday, July 14, 2018, 1.30 - 7 p.m.
Ethan Cohen KuBe, 211 Fishkill Ave, Beacon, NY, 12508

Sharp Lines, Soft Nature | Chinese Ink Painting and Performance
1.30-3.30 p.m.

Guest Participants:

Prof. Eugene Wang (Director of Harvard University Chinese Media Lab)
Boon Hui Tan (Director of Asia Society Museum)
Melik Kaylan (cultural critic and journalist)
Ethan Cohen (gallerist and curator)
Dr. Gan Yu (Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University)
Isaac Aden (artist and curator)


Ethan Cohen Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Yu Han Yu: Force of Nature. The Power of the Brush, co-curated by Ethan Cohen and Gan Yu. The exhibition will be held at Ethan Cohen KuBe in Beacon, New York from 14 th of July – 2 nd of September, 2018. The opening ceremony will be accompanied by the symposium on the converging histories of Ink Tradition and Tea and the journeys of both from the past to today.

A leading figure in the practice of Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy, Yu Han Yu has pioneered a visual vernacular that pushes the ancient art form into the 21st century – without losing touch with its origins. Based in Beijing, he is recognized as both a master of the genre and an experimental visionary, an explorer on land and on the canvas. Yu's ink paintings derive from direct contact with his subject matter: the mountainous regions of Tibet's Qinghai Plateau, the sweeping peaks of Shangri-La, glacial cataracts and cosmic cloudscapes. Born in 1964, and graduated from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in Wu Hand and China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing , he has travelled to Tibet on some 50 occasions in 13 years, often in strenuous conditions. His explosively jagged confluences of nature suggest his own struggle against the elements in creating his art while conveying the internecine struggle within nature's fierce forces of creation.

Yu does not paint from photographs or mediated images although his works reference ancient imagistic antecedents in the landscape genre: the almost psychedelic colors of early Dunhuang cave murals fused with Tang era chromatic lushness and Northern Song atmospherics through the use of a brush and ink technique. He gathers the strands of aesthetic tradition and delivers them into realms of abstraction to achieve maximum expression. As such his paintings could be termed expressionist – the brushwork itself is both medium and object while the scenery achieves a simultaneity of both landscape and artist's mindscape. Confronted by Yu's feral Himalayan volcanoes of ice, the viewer seems at times to be witnessing the moment when energy becomes form. And when form is about to atomize into pure energy. The moment of creation and destruction. Hence the need for abstraction as perhaps the most realist approach to a metaphysical visual challenge.

Yu's calligraphy too is highly celebrated for its originality, its ability to convey its purpose not simply through meaning inherent in language or the individual dance of ideograms but through the headlong flow of the whole. The teeming kinetic torrents of calligraphy suggest his landscapes and their unleashed energy. Again, everywhere there is the pulsing instant when the artist sculpts creativity into form.

Yu Han Yu is the director of the leading private art school, Ben Yuan Academy of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in Beijing. His work has appeared in numerous prestigious exhibition in China. His one-man show at the Beacon Cube will be his first in a major US gallery.

Ethan Cohen Fine Arts
. Selected Works by Yu Han Yu
“Barrens and Floating Clouds”, 150 x 900 cm, Ink on Paper, 2018
“Lonely Soul, Cold Moonlight and freezing Rocks”, 150 x 420 cm, Ink on Paper, 2018
“Glaciers in the Moon Light”, 90 x 180 cm, Ink on Paper, 2010



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