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The Island of Penglai
Material: Watercolor and acrylic paint on paper
Dimension(cm): 54x37 cm
Chou Cheng-Liang Artist Statement
The image of a boat still remains
Arriving at the island or perhaps departing it, with a family of five
The scenery within a hundred miles/kilometers was full of blooms, trees and fruits
And the scenery within a thousand miles was full of narrow roads, misty mountains and the ups and downs
It has been three years since my last solo exhibition,
This exhibition includes over 30 works—oil paintings and on-paper ones—continuing my study of landscape, its contents include being far from home, and the diversity on the island.
The study of Island has become a subject in trend. By investigating its image from aerial view or its history since ancient times, one may immediately discover multiple narratives of the history, and a smell of battlefield.
In recent years, I continue to explore the forests in the mountains with my son, sometimes we walk on small trails in the wilderness, sometimes we pass through leagues in the mountain, and sometimes we reach the hilltop.
I sometimes also contemplate the scenery, which contents myself, as I work on gardening in my place. And I have translated these experiences into images and records in my paintings, and thus created A Guide to the Island.
I do not consider them fantasies, instead they are my personal experiences at certain moments, from certain perspectives.
Years ago, I took the opportunity to stay in the east coast temporarily as my brother moved there. I took excursions to different islands by a ship through the sea; I walk from Taroko to Hehuan Mountain—it was a trip of my heart’s content, also, a first choice wen it comes to guide to the island.
There came an urge and an inspiration as I gazed at the magnificent mountains with great rocks.
If I were asked—What is the meaning of landscape painting?
A journal of returning home, traveling afar, visiting the sights of novelty, and moving.
There should always be an epic motif in the beginning, therefore paths, rivers and floating clouds appeared.
The background mountains must be rearranged and organized into shapes for the sake of the overall view.
Though I graduated from art academy, it is both good luck and misfortune that I have never obtained the traditional oil painting technique.
There is a unique charm in the over-realism of oil painting—the misty air within the hues, and the manlike house walls and mountain slopes.
Yet I always seek an approach of the unknown before the paint dries.
It is still uncertain whether my painting journey will bring me toward boundless strokes or detailed portrayal. Like the north and the south on a compass it still needs to be defined. To appreciate images with a pure mind, and be bold to deconstruct traditions—such is the guide to my paintings.