Ink and color on paper, 1995
Height: 25 ⅞ inches (65.72 cm.)
Width: 25 inches (63.50 cm.)
This autumn landscape is of the mountains in Southern China, where the hills are less rocky and richer in soil. Zeng Xiaojun renders the landscape with traditional hemp-fiber strokes, the most suitable choice for expressing the softly-textured soil of southern landscape sceneries. The hemp-fiber stroke uses many lines, painted from top to bottom from a single angle, and layered on top of each other like many criss-crossed cords of hemp. To render the lubricated richness of he soil, Zeng Xiaojun utilizes a salmon pink ink wash. He painted the landscape with the understanding that this is a tribute to the human soul. The landscape is not just an interaction between men and their surroundings. Hence, no trace of a person or anything man-made could be found.
As one of the best-known and most important contemporary ink painters active in China today, Zeng Xiaojun was born in Beijing in 1954 and spent his teenage years living amidst the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. He attended the Central Art and Craft Academy of Beijing, from which he graduated in 1981. In 1983, Zeng Xiaojun moved to the United States, taking up residence in Boston. In 1997, he returned to Beijing, where he now lives and works. An avid collector of Ming and Qing furniture as well as scholar’s objects, Zeng Xiaojun is most passionate about wood and scholar’s rocks, reflecting an unusual resonance between his paintings and collected objects. Zeng Xiaojun’s art is in many private and public collections, including the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.