Our next Artist You Need To Know is Tien Chang 章天柱. Chang, originally from Taiwan, now works and resides in Toronto. He is the vice-chairman of the Chinese Association and a member of the Ontario Chinese Artists Association.
Tien Chang paints horses almost exclusively. “With minimal brush strokes, he freezes the vitality of these four-legged animals onto his works, regardless whether those horses are standing on guard or galloping in full vigour with flying manes and stretched out hooves. Chang’s main interest is on capturing and depicting their supremacy.” (from here)
The curatorial statement for his exhibition Riding the Wind offers the following about his style and aesthetic: “Chang has refined the strokes that he uses to depict the horses to the minimal, especially in his ink works on paper. Despite the vibrant colours on the background, the strokes on his canvases are equally sparse and simplified. This has become his personal style. With a strong Western twist, Chang is fluent in Chinese ink painting and excels in Chinese calligraphy, poetry and seal carving.” (from here)
Despite the continuity of his subject matter, Tien Chang’s paintings offer a “unique creativity as well as his honesty toward the interpretation of the natural world through his eyes and feelings; he uses brushes, ink, colors, rice paper, and canvas to express the beauty of the “image of mind” and his paintings have been continuously evolving and revolutionary in each phases of his life.” (from here) In many ways, the repetition of the motif of horses is a fertile space for Tien Chang to focus on formal aspects of his works that are unique, with marks and colours that hold the viewer, capturing the dynamism of the animals, whether in fluid action, or at rest, with lines and hues that hint at the coiled energy of Tien Chang’s noble ‘beasts’.
Several videos of his process – titled Riding into the Chinese Horse Painting – can be seen here. The dexterity of his brushwork displays both discipline and a sense of play.
His art works have been shown in Canada as well as internationally, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and collected by numerous galleries and libraries, and his pieces can be found in many private collections, as well. Much more about his work and more images of his art can be seen here, at his site. Tien Chang has published a book about the horses he paints called Ancient Path Western Trend, through David Mirvish Books.
Tien Chang has numerous videos at his site, about his artwork and process (including when CBC visited his studio): these can be enjoyed here.