Painting is a meaningful action that requires a mental practice before being prone to hold a brush, and overcome a mere empirical observation and depiction of nature. The artist once engulfed on such perilous path, experiences an incremental thirst that can be quenched by the search of the quintessence that encompasses all states of beauty. He concentrates on spiritual cultivation, before selecting the adequate brush to render the intricacies of life, and the deliberate paucity of means shown in his tools speak for his spiritual pursuit. The artist sharpened his thoughts to search deeper more into the core of matter to retrieve the forgotten nature of relatedness.
Digging restless matter from one’s mind, on to the surface of the canvas is a demanding endeavor, and the artist is daring in his use of a knife. The knife is precise, allowing neither hesitation nor change. If it does, it will alter motion’s fluidity.
The genesis of matter contains a sheer beauty unrevealed by classical canons or Greek standards responsible for having influenced our conception of harmonious proportions. To decipher Tang Huawei’s enigmatical recent paintings, we are compelled to leave behind our convenient standards to explore new ones. In that respect, the observer is deprived of the ability to elaborate comparisons as there is no guiding paradigm to pave one’s way through the versions of the persistent theme developed by the artist. The Spirit series presenting twenty seven paintings, may surprise those among us unfamiliar with the depiction of the genesis of life observed with powerful images in its fundamental chaotic unity.
Chaos in our present analysis is not related to division but to cohesion and unity. Chaos is equally related to unstableness rooted on endless architectured and orchestrated motion.
Its beauty lies there seemingly within reach, but not quite yet, as it requires some insight to comprehend a state that is never complete or static, thus giving the illusion that it is separated and chaotic, when it is in reality a coherent wholeness. Indeed, we need to shift our perception and its working ways, in order to apprehend the formative source on display, in its various states of forms and glowing light. One way to read the serie of paintings is to consider them as the rough skin of an inner colorful gem which colors are not immediately revealed but are perceptible nevertheless through the mother rock’s minute cracks. By doing so, we refer to the consistent duality between a dull and chaotic skin and the structured inner colored core. Despite the fact that each painting displays first, captured fiery colors enhanced by a contrasting background, the true colors are never fully revealed.
Our purpose therefore is not to figure out whether we are confronted to an abstract depiction of nature or an exhaustive and realistic depiction of it, but simply to unfold with the artist’s knife and brush, its essence, and proceed to what the artist refers as, the supreme depiction. In that respect, the Spirit series can be viewed as a fulfilling crusade for the holy Grail, where there is no divine object that feeds the endless quest which is to involve himself with the observer in the complex phenomenon of genesis and former interconnectedness.
However, the recurring theme is the expression of motion.
We refer to slowness of expansion, which may seem uncanny at first, as we have the propensity to associate expansion with celerity (motion is usually being analyzed by speed). Indeed, forms unfold progressively with no perturbation in their growth, persisting in remaining undefined, despite their intentional careful depiction. Precisely, the single forms are rarely depicted in their final state and their inner substance remains undeciphered.
The following paradox deals with the attributes of reality presented, and our behavior towards it.The artist advocates for the primacy of the spiritual cultivation which educates the mind, itself tuning the reading of the eye. The background of each painting shows a differing portion of (sky or water) that is granted sufficient room on the canvas with either warm or cold colors, meant to procure contrast with the outline of the global shape positioned in the center. Whether it stands for water or sky bears no impact as they are reflections of the mind. The whole structure qualified as wholeness, is timeless through its repetitive but transforming stages that are related to one another, despite the fact the evolution is not perceptible as an increase but as a change mainly.
The purpose of the multiple states is to disclose motion between both related inward motion and outward motion and their mutual cohesion.
The light glowing on distinct single forms confirms the existence of an inward motion which dictates or affects the color play produced outwardly by the single forms.
The vibrant blue is not totally blue and allows black, as well as red which is not entirely red. In a physical reality, the eye would interpret the glowing flash of colors under the assumption that the artist expresses the visible colors of the spectrum. Light comes from within the painting without a precise trajectory, and feeds the single forms that respond with opalescent play of color on a varying colored background (bodycolor) appearing either translucent or opaque and sometimes both. The interplay comes with a high luster perceptible on the surface. The luminiscent light features the inner fire whose manifestation differs in each painting and modifies our perception of color, hence introducing different relationships between the single forms and the whole structure, to be differentiated with the relationships (cohesion) of the single forms between themselves.
However, the paradox still remains and is worth considering:
Should we read the single form or the wholeness ? Is the dissection of wholeness compulsory to understand it ?
Its seems difficult to apprehend wholeness without the consciousness of forms that shape it, or even mould it. Wholeness is the result of entangled forms or the result of single forms that keep their individuality and self existence, while declaring a mimetic motion. The single forms confess a similitude in their aspect and behavior, but in fact and when observed in close up, they manifest an individual trait. As to entangled forms, they keep their individuality and are not deprived of it for the benefit of wholeness ; their entanglement is the consequence of crossing trajectories in constant, but varying motion and color interferences. Without consciousness of the single forms, the mind apprehends a global shape more or less pronounced in its outline, cast in the light or in the darkness of the shade or struck by inner flashes of light. In such case, the chaotic unity is definitely assessed although not dissected.
The outline of the wholeness although visually distinct from the rest of the canvas, is linked to the remaining and assessed subtle emptiness (containing nothing) of sky or water. Although its intrinsic nature is not revealed to us, it bears an implicit order as well as the explicit nature of the plentiness (containing much). Admitting a division between what is seen or not seen, would mean lessening the intended wholeness which is the resulting union between all the single forms and their inner hidden core.
Wholeness claims bondage with its single forms and their mutual environment, whatever the environment may be. Admitting emptiness in the canvas is a response to an increasing plentiness (the amount of single forms significantly growing) or if we refer to our previously declared unity, a variant expression of plentiness which knowledge is not provided by the artist in his depiction. We then can observe the paintings in a different way : either we focus on the assessed emptiness, or we linger mainly on the plentiness which manifests its own wholeness.
Most of us when driving by a field admire its wholeness, but we do not focus on the single flower or plant that structure it. The fast driver will undoubtedly miss the individuality of thousands of plants that are assigned to structure the field.
The paradox includes to unfold with care the undefined and the invisible. More so, the vivid images illustrating the recurring theme can be contemplated independantly in one painting (fragmented view) or as a totality which is an interesting alternative, but defies our sensory attitude and makes our reading challenging. Further more, one painting presents both the individuality and the totality in their complementarity. To such extend, that the scenography of the serie orchestrates a circular reading mode, reminiscent of a flowing stream that ignores its proper end, immune to it. Although the serie of paintings show a consistent but varying front view, the artist with the usage of light, invites the mind to grasp the increasing roundness and constituent parts of the breathing active wholeness.
The rotating shade which includes action too, is dual and complementary to the rotating light as it is the invisible side of light. The rotation of both light & shade is generated from the core of the wholeness. Such phenomenom can be observed in certain gems when handled in a particular light (interference with light). The fire of color is motion dependant, and some colors declare themselves before others, implying the notion of a hierarchy of observable colors. Hence, some colors are intermediate(not immediately perceived), whilst an isolated and enhanced color will stand out.
Is there a tension between forms to acquire a primacy over the whole ?
The tension should be understood here as the delivery of information made more or less vibrant and powerful. Light transmits information in a fast mode to the single forms, that answer back with color changes. The color changes are fast although modulated, but not the expanding motion of the single forms. In fact motion is not light dependant, as it is a continuous flow whether it stands in the shade or light. The complementary levels of variations from one painting to the other, should be considered as the explicit expression of a motion. The inward motion illustrates the outward deployment of wholeness.
How such motion is expressed will impact our sense of velocity or slowness.
The notion of slowness mentioned earlier, is to be considered with caution as it differs here from ordinary notions of space and time; the multiple phases of depiction introduce a rhythm, leading to the emergence of former concealed beauty, and an inner dynamism. The continuing motion knows no sharp changes, and no vanishing, for it remains with poise and balance, even when it takes into account a different scale of wholeness. Precisely, our investigation does not focus on a few paintings but on an helpful wider scope of production, to observe the slowness of motion. Hence, we may consider each painting as a transitory state within the serie, and related to the other paintings. The serie itself, is considered as an undefined whole that becomes a continuous flow presenting an articulated repetition, with a transformed slowness being translated each time, by a redistributed colored energy. A painting calls for and involves another one which responds to the latter, and vibrates with mastered reserve, a realm of interiority. In such realm, rigidness is banished in favor of new motion combinations, relying on expanding organic forms in cohesion.
Everything is motion, neither quiet, nor violent, channeled in a stream that does not include a perceptible human being in its enbodiment. Primary matter prevails over human form as it is the precursor energy which anticipates human kind. All is alive and breathing, represented in its singleness or wholeness, as a colorful tribute to life and its cohesive energy, that ignores boundary except, the one erected by our own cognition. The life force is expressed by the inaudible pulse of living forms, with each form delivering an incomplete but vital color to its related forms, obeying to an implicate order. A color is discerned here, as the visualisation of an encoded information, bearing variation and subtleness that conveys a divulged information. Behind that information, stand the hidden structure of the wholeness.
All forms are precious to the existence and regeneration of the system. Each active form answers for the other (not divisible) and obeys to the meta form (adhesive force) whose existence relies on holding together single forms, releashing breaths of modulated amplitude hence, suggesting the notion of an implicate order standing for an undivided architectured and chaotic wholeness. The association of architecture and chaos is key to grasp the ambivalence of unity.
A hierarchy between forms would be hard to assess in spite of the varying close ups acting as magnifiers that render mainly minute details not of form but of motion. In such case, close ups assess that each individual motion is reciprocal to another motion of form.
Close ups add drama to the theme, and immerse the observer into intense motion. The mind becomes part of the creative act. In some cases, the magnifying vision of the artist focuses on a swarming and chromatic entanglement of varied density expressed by an outward form of elongated lenghts and diameters belonging to an unknown matter. The eye in this new visual experience, first perceives the entanglement, then grasps the individuality of forms and their complex trajectory. The explicit motion (limited perspective) seen in close up, seems accelerated and unabled to stop its web like forming activity.
Life’s behavior emphasizes motion where nothing is seen in isolation, (undivided wholeness) and is the expression of a silent dialogue between forms. A form is connected to another form which acknowledges another one (linked and related forms). These forms when singled out, lose significance and density, as they need each other (bonding) and rely on the inner movement to shape the whole meta form.
The artist renders the mutual gravitational attraction of single forms as they emerge from the same source, with the energy needed to grow and expand. The resulting form is enhanced by light strokes (flash) of different intensities, gently or vividly brushing its parts.
The colors expressing thus, the multiple interactions between the related cumulative forms and the resulting web, leaving scarce empty space on the canvas, doomed to be drowned by life itself. The beginning and the end of the muffled turbulence are not discernible and the eye of the observer is guided mainly by contrasting flashes of light. The painting Breathing introduces the self growing whole, made of multiple entangled forms. A chaotic unity where motion and color combined, cover an inner governing structure. The painting Twilight is made of free forms (organism) that respect a given scale, a continuity of motion and tone of color or chromatic variations. The meta entity being invisible is only discernable by the fiery colors shining underneath. Each painting is reciprocal to another painting (internal and external relationship) where wholeness is in gestation.
The Spirit Series do not express a fugitive instant but rather a continous motion that unfolds to refold again. Force and vitality are the core of an endlessly flowing conjunction of forces made of latent individual energies. Reciprocally related forms shape a mountain of escalating and breathing motion, which is not fragmented although it may appear so, from one painting to the other, but conceived as intrinsic parts of the same vision which unfolds like a single canvas, reuniting cognitive and related experiences.
A mutual path made of multiple intersections leading upwards the canvas, and beyond visible measure.
By Sylvie Samani