Galerie Dumonteil New York is pleased to present Lin Guocheng - The Zen Garden, marking the artist’s first collaboration with the gallery as well as his debut in the United States. Featuring 23 works from “Nature” and “Nature VS Urban Space”, two important themes in the artist’s recent years’ practice, The Zen Garden attempts to delineate the enigmatic forces of the universe in lines and spaces, forms and imageries with Lin’s pen and Chinese ink on paper.
Lin's unique language embraces the artistic traditions of the East and the West, and challenges the integration and collision of the two systems. On one hand, the artist’s exquisite ink pen technique originates from his passion for European medieval and Renaissance art, especially Michelangelo's sketches and Albrecht Dürer's engravings. On the other hand, Lin has a profound understanding of Chinese philosophies and literati paintings with particular admiration for the works by Shi Tao, Chen Hongshou, and Dong Yuan. Fully absorbing the strengths of both systems, the artist explores the possibility of combining pen and Chinese ink in the contemporary dimensions. Through the rich techniques of literati painting and its pursuit of the spirit, the repetitively dense pen strokes become vital, unpredictable, and full of room for imagination, giving the final works spontaneity, momentum, and interesting details as well.
The study of strokes and brushwork serves not only Lin's artistic expression but also his way to analyze the origin of things. The fluidic Qi — the circulating life force — is always present in Lin’s work. Not surprisingly, “Nature” is one of the artist’s beloved themes, showcased by the Manifolds series, Blooming Flowers, Heartbeat and several works focusing on trees in the exhibition, revealing how the artist inspects the texture and structure of nature through the nib and discovers the changing forms of life. In the spectacular Manifolds – Between the Mountains and the Sea, the boundless, reckless swirling lines are juxtaposed with minimal yet strong strokes, rendering the otherworldly labyrinth with tense and motion.
To Lin, the concept of “growth” does not limit to any particular plant or organism. A city is growing and aging in the same way a forest does. A star shares the same system with an atom. Embodying these contemplation and emotions, Lin discuss the theme “Nature VS Urban Space” in the role of a contemporary literati with his practice in the Cube and Nature series, the Landscape that is Impossibly Accommodated series, and Shape of History, etc. In the large-scale Time, as the White Horse Flashing by, Lin fully explored the expression of pen and ink in space representation. The highlighting and layering are achieved through thoughtful composition, eclectic blank-leaving and diverse brushwork, resulting in a mixed time-space woven by the white horse scenery overlapped with rolling hills and lines of buildings, constantly shifting among dreams, reality and Utopia.
In Lin’s heart, “Whether it is an instant or eternity, solidity and liquidity, there is no definite answer. Things are neither certain nor empty, which provides artists with a vast creative space where they experience moments of life and eternity in one picture, transcending the material world and pursuing their spirituality.” Thus, The Zen Garden is a gateway that opens to any viewer who would like to take the time to look and perceive, associating the work with their personal experience and continuing the story with their own imagination.