NEW YORK - Fou Gallery is pleased to announce that our new exhibition Wei Jia: A Way of Life will be on view from October 13, 2018 to December 23, 2018. An ordinary person, living an ordinary life in his ordinary attitude and doing ordinary things, Wei loves traditional Chinese art but does not follow conventional rules. He interprets the tradition in his own way and gives it a broader meaning. This exhibition presents his daily work in Brooklyn, New York in recent years, including Xuan paper (rice paper) collages on large-scale canvases, works on paper, hand scrolls, calligraphy albums, small manuscripts, and a site-specific installation. This exhibition showcases Wei’s complete creative process and his creative state to explore the connection between art making and daily life.
Wei began to learn Chinese poetry and landscape painting with the renowned collector Zhang Boju and his wife Pan Su at an early age, which deeply influenced his entire life. Later, he studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In 1985, he went to the United States to obtain a MFA. After 1993, he settled down in Brooklyn, New York. He uses Xuan paper as primary medium, mixing ink, gouache, acrylic and other pigments on it. He writes calligraphy, then tears off the paper, reorganizes the pieces, and repeats the process to make collages. In such a process of accidental changes and inevitable forces, his life experience and artistic experience are integrated into visual images.
Wei practices calligraphy everyday and began to create calligraphy series since 2000. He reinterprets traditional calligraphy in the form of painting and combines the practice of both writing and painting in order to renegotiate the entangled relationship between the past and the present. The English title of the exhibition is A Way of Life, which can also be written as Away of Life. For Wei Jia, day-to-day practice of calligraphy is not regarded as training for a professional artist, but a part of daily life that he focuses on, which forms his life attitude. Wei Jia numbered the titles of his work and documented them in an 18-year-old notebook, which records the development of his style. In some works ("No.16197", "No.16201"), Wei Jia intentionally deconstructs the reading of the texts and guides the viewer to appreciate the visual image. "No. 18222" keeps the original form of calligraphy, but Wei dismantled his own copy of Ming-dynasty painter Dong Qichang’s Thousand Characters into six square-shape images, and then rearranged them. The neat handwritings even bear some similarities with abstract paintings by Agnes Martin and Dan Walsh and minimalist art. Another work, “No.18221,” seems to return to the symbiotic relationship between poetry and painting in Chinese art: The abstract collages look like stone rubbing, while the colophons show the artist's witty remarks—“Stop carriage to enjoy the late maple woods; Frosty leaves redder than the February flowers."
For the exhibition, Wei will also present a scene on-site based on the brownstone structure of the gallery with his calligraphy written in the past two years. The immersive environment allows the viewer to enter the artist’s daily life.
During the exhibition, we will also arrange special events such as painting and calligraphy appreciation, Yaji (literati gathering), and tea ceremonies to enhance the viewing experience. For further information, please stay tuned to our follow-up pushes from the gallery.