and Custom Framing
| Saper Galleries is one
of the first galleries to display the work of Jiang in
the 1980s. Our sixth major exhibition, which
opened July 17, 1988, featured the paintings,
sculpture, and limited editions of Jiang. For
more than 30 years Saper Galleries has inventoried
Jiang's art. The images shown here are in our
current inventory and may be shipped to you today from
East Lansing, Michigan! Other Jiangs are also
available. Just ask!
Bronze sculpture, number 128/225
16 x 19 x 9"
$3,600 less than the full value of $12,600
Bronze sculpture, number 14/30
33 x 35 x 20" (One-third life size)
$16,000 less than the full value of $48,000
33 x 33" plus framing
Sorry, sold for $3,500 framed
(Half the full current value of $7,000 framed)
Girl of Suzhou
32 x 33" plus framing
Sorry, sold for $2,500 framed
($4,500 less than the full current value of $7,000 framed)
Little Horse Suite II
Sorry, sold for $1,580 framed
(Half the full value of $3,160 framed)
Freedom Suite East
Sorry, sold for $1,835 framed
Traditional Chinese Influences
Modern Western influences played a part in the formation of the Yunnan school, but traditional Chinese art -- such as the sculpture from the Han Dynasty (221 B.C.-220 A.D.) played by far the most important role.
The "flung ink" technique.
This method, invented by the ancient zen artists more than 1500 years ago, is the precursor of abstract expressionism. By flicking the paint of the end of the brush the artists could create a totally energized surface. This is precisely what Jackson Pollock rediscovered in the 1940s and 50s. But the Chinese had always used this technique, and Jiang uses it masterfully.
The Dunguang Caves
But the greatest Chinese influence was the art created in the Dunguang caves in central China. In 1907 European explorers rediscovered the Buddhist caves on the Ancient Silk Road that led from China through Persia and finally to the West. At Dunghuang, the last caravan stop with a plentiful amount of water and supplies before travelers from China ventured into the perilous Takla Makan desert, the explorers discovered a group of more than 400 caves with paintings of extraordinary quality which had been very well preserved by the dry desert climate. These paintings had been created over a period of 700 years,from roughly 300 to 1000 AD. They were commissioned as devotional acts by pious Buddhists: warriors, princes, kings, merchants, peoples from all walks of life--created in the same spirit as were the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. But by the 12th century, wars and other geopolitical forces caused the abandonment of the caves, and they lay forgotten until their rediscovery by the Europeans in the 20th century.
In 1942, a well-known and respected traditional Chinese artist Zhang Daqian led an expedition to the caves. He spent 2 1/2 years studying and copying the astounding paintings there. When his work became available to other artists and scholars it caused great excitement, for just as African and Iberian art and thecave paintings of Lascaux had inspired and liberated Picasso, so the revelation of the freeflowing qualities of line and form and the rich mythic traditions of the Dunguang cave paintings inspired and liberated the young Chinese artists. Jiang was particularily moved by the colors, the linear quality, and the mythic stories of the cave painting--and we see this in his work. Jiang's colors are of unsurpassed richness. A colorist, Jiang's intention was to reverse the trend of the stale Chinese tradition of painting in gray, black,and white. Jiang says: "Chinese art had reached a sick level due to its lack of color." Jiang's credo is: "Long live the Line!" He is a genius at using line to give the illusion of depth to a flat two-dimensional surface -- almost like an x-ray. Jiang's paintings are like cubism: by using superb drawing he createstransparency, and thus he reveals more than one level of reality in each painting. Jiang is a storyteller. Hispaintings are steeped in Buddhist and Chinese mythology. Each figure has a symbolic meaning. The paintings have so much complexity and visual fascination that the viewer is constantly seeing something new. Jiang says "For every picture there is a story, and for every story there is a picture."
But above all, the cave art was an indigenous Chinese tradition, a tradition that gave the artists similar freedoms to those won by the artists in the west, but at the same time it was a tradition that the artists could freely pursue without fear of being accused of being Anti-Chinese. The traditional mythic themesand images, and the rhythmic flow of the cave art have found their way over and over again into paintings of Jiang and the other "Yunnan School" artists.
The influence of the Dunguang imagery and style combined with European Cubist influences, such as the use of transparent washes of colors to allow for a multi-leveled view of reality, characterize Jiang's work to this day.
Jiang would also incorporate
many of these traditional Chinese folkloric
images into his art.
What is the secret of Jiang's popularity?
Jiang's colors are of unsurpassed richness. A colorist, Jiang's intention was to reverse the trend of the stale Chinese tradition of painting in gray, black, and white. Jiang says: "Chinese art had reached a sick level due to its lack of color."
Jiang's use of imagery. As noted above, Jiang is a storyteller. His paintings are steeped in Buddhist and Chinese mythology. Each figure has a symbolic meaning. The paintings have so much complexity and visual fascination that the viewer is constantly seeing something new.
Jiang's vision has continued to grow and expand. Probably because of his personal experience in two cultures he has increasingly seen the world as a single system, as a meeting place of diverse forces. This is reflected in the number of environmental and ecologic themes which have recently begun appearing in his work, notably in such pieces as "Nature Suite," "Genesis," "Lovers Trees," and "My World."
The secret and essence of Jiang's work is best expressed by the artist himself:
"An artist is not a photographer; my work is my understanding of life. It is difficult for me to remember what distances I have traveled, how many mountains I have climbed, how many rivers I have crossed,and how many villages I have passed through. I can only recall the countless joyous moments and hardships of the past years from the many pictures I have painted. My deep love of the colorful earth and for Xishuangbanna, a region of the Yunnan Province, has encouraged me to explore and create paintings. My paintings are not only pictures: they are also music and poetry that is bewitching, sweet dreams that are being dreamed."
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is the standard!
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