The collaborative works of painter Arnold Chang (Zhang Hong; b. 1954) and photographer Michael Cherney (Qiu Mai; b. 1969) stretch and play with the relationship between the two media of painting and photography and the history and principles of Chinese ink painting.
As a New Yorker living in China (Cherney) and as a Chinese-American living in the U.S. (Chang), both are engaged in a lively dialogue while practicing within Chinese and Western artistic modes, challenging categorizations of Chinese and American art and identity in today’s increasingly globalized world.
Cherney travels throughout the world photographing all subjects, including landscape, and chooses excerpts from his film photography to inkjet print and embed onto blank sheets of textured paper to send on to Chang. Upon receipt, Chang will sit with the sheet, not knowing where the excerpt is from, and expand the photographic image into a larger landscape with brush and ink. The resulting work is sometimes based on an instant association with a historical Chinese painting; at other times it is based purely on imagination. Their collaborative process and work juxtapose notions of fast and slow, of real and imagined, and brings forward ideas of how technology continues to change our ways of seeing.
This is a show that not only considers conceptual and philosophical ideas of representation, but also of materiality: the graininess or smoothness of the paper, the juxtaposition of paper upon paper, the ghostliness of ink and collage. Individually and together, their works are distinctive in the way that perspective is constantly challenged through the medium of ink, whether printed or by hand. Viewers must piece together what they are seeing—is it a photo, a painting, or both?
This exhibition will feature a selection of both their individual and collaborative works, including two new collaborative pieces that will be exhibited publicly for the first time. The exhibition is organized by the Crow Collection of Asian Art and curated by Jacqueline Chao.