時間 2020/12/18 10:00 ~ 2021/01/17 18:00
Life in Watercolor - Chen Zong Ho’s Memories of Taiwan
Born in Pingtung, Chen Zong Ho (1928-2005) was one of the first generation of painters in Taiwan to receive a four-year university education in fine arts. He was also a member of the first session of students to graduate from the fine arts department of the National Taiwan Normal University and he ranked first in watercolor major. He was elected by the Province Exhibition, Tai Yang Exhibition and Teachers Exhibition. While it was a fad that many watercolor painters of the same generation had abandoned watercolor painting for oil painting; Chen Zong Ho had persisted and thrived in watercolor painting for more than sixty years, the quality and quantity of his paintings, and the record of being selected for eleven consecutive time by the prestigious Japan Watercolor Society to display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum since 1973 proved that, he was an outstanding mid-generation watercolor artist of Taiwan in the 90’. Not only did he have tremendous painting skills, but also was talented at converting small local places into praise-worthy “magnificent scenes'' throughout his paintings. In addition, his works are collected by the Taipei Fine Art Museum, Kaoshiung Fine Art Museum, Marubeni Corporation Taipei Branch, and Taipei Mackay Memorial Hospital.
Chen Zong Ho self-studied in his youth from the paintings and the pictures of Lan Yin Ding and Japanese painter Ishikawa Kinichiro. When he was a student of NTNU, he was taught by Liao Chi Chun, Chang Yi Hsiung, and Ma Bai Shui. Chen Zong Ho learned the principle from Liao Chi Chun to create orderly theme out of chaos, applying brushworks freely until the effect he wanted were presented. He was deeply influenced by Liao Chi Chun in the style formation and color, and his sketch skill was mainly trained by Chang Yi Hsiung. After graduation, he joined “the Ninth Watergate Painting Studio” to continue his learning. He would pick up the tree branches along the Tamsui riverside, burn them to make charcoal pens, and sell self-made toys on the street to raise money for drawing papers. He, as well as other artists in the studio, would work hard to fulfill their dreams of being inspiring artists, and they formed the renowned ‘Riverside Painters Association’.
Chen Zong Ho worked as an art teacher in high schools all over Taiwan after he graduated, such as Pingtung Girl’s High School, Tainan Guanghua Girl’s High School, Tamsui Junior High School and Shilin High School of Commerce. His long stay at each location enabled him to depict the local people and scenery much more deeply and vividly than other painters who only stayed a short time for outdoor sketching. From Pingtung Coconut Grove, Tainan Old Street and Chiayi Farm of the south, to Yongrakucho, Danshui River and Keelung Harbor of the north, his paintings tell the stories of Taiwan's scenic progress over the years. In addition to being a teacher, Chen Zong Ho was also the advocate for the ‘Pentel Japan Art Supplies Company’ in building its market in Taiwan. Not only did he introduce new painting tools, presented demonstrations of concrete and abstract painting styles to Taiwan, but also created the opportunities for the conservative art teachers in Taiwan to paint nude models in the 60’s. They would often chat and drink together, his paintings naturally presented a look of being drunk, free but still organized; rendering was as mellow as red wine, and unruly brushwork seemed to perform in a state of half drunk and half awake. The scenery of Taiwan depicted in Chen Zong Ho’s paintings was covered with romantic and intoxicating colors. Chen Zong Ho established his own company later, promoting business enabled him to paint every corner of Taiwan. He also witnessed the new artistic trends during business trips to Japan, when people in southern Taiwan in those days were trying to learn about the latest art information, the first-person people mentioned was Chen Zong Ho.
Chen Zong Ho’s early brushstrokes were light and bright, the features of Ishikawa’s and Lan Yin Ding’s can be seen in his paintings, all three of them had traveled extensively throughout Taiwan to depict the landscape in watercolor. In the 70’s, Chen Zong Ho accompanied Fuwa Akira, the famed Japanese watercolor painter, down to Pingtung and Qishan in southern Taiwan for his painting tour each year, therefore, Chen Zong Ho’s style of painting was somewhat influenced by Akira. In 1973, one of the judges of the Japan Watercolor Society released an article: ‘Every time I went with Chen Zong Ho to Tamsui for outdoor painting, he liked to depicted those amazing sites by using young people who hung out there as the background for his works, as well as to promote the tourism for locality, his enthusiasm of his hometown was touching.’ Also said: ‘Chen Zong-Ho's transparent watercolor is a British-orthodox painting style rendered in contemporary sensibility with correct sketching basis, crisp and clear colors. His paintings were elected by most of the judges, he's a prospective master of watercolor in the future.’
Chen Zong Ho was knowledgeable about Japanese history and literature, also loved music, movie and singing, the cultivation of multi-art was the long-term edification of his inner creativity. Chen Zong Ho started to mix transparent with opaque watercolors in his paintings at his midlife, making his colors progressively stronger and thicker, with some of his watercolor works even looking more like oil paintings. He had tried a variety of painting supplies in watercolor painting, such as applying black ink, pastel, pencil, charcoal pen, and fine tip black signing pen, just like a clever old urchin playing creative games, but his paintings kept the same deep unchanged love of Taiwan’s landscape. Chen Zong Ho was good at creating orderly themes out of chaos, applying short dash brushworks and rich colors, either smudge rendering or flat smearing, to depict the messiness and vitality of traditional food markets, ports and food stands in alleys. His colors included light, heavy, mellow, and passionate, what he presented was not a fairyland, but a plain living environment of humble and hard-working people. He also loved to depict the progress of villages and cities during the economic boom in Taiwan; a new developing city look, and an old drifting era look were intertwined to appear in the same painting, giving a sigh on the rapid changes between destruction and reconstruction of landscape. From 1989 to 2001, Chen Zong Ho visited relatives in the United States, it made his painting enthusiastic, lustrous, and colorful. His works during his later years was even more willful and unrestrained, however, the background of his orthodox art education eventually brought him back to the realism.
In 1970, all his paintings were destroyed in a fire, his remaining works are from 1970 to 2002 when he suffered from a stroke. About one thousand paintings created in 32 years were the witness of Chen Zong Ho’s ‘Life in Watercolor’. He experienced the constant changing of the various eras and the conflicts of cultures, the reflection on his paintings were an unique personal styles that integrated multiple arts and cultures of Taiwan, Japan and the United States with the nourishment inheritances of his predecessors, Chen Zong Ho left a stunning chapter for the development lineage of Taiwan watercolor paintings.