Because of the Wind
Paintings & Drawings © Yang Wei-chung
Born in Hualein, Taiwan in 1947, Yang Wei-chung studied painting under Chen Ching-hui, and at 19 was the youngest artist selected for the Tai-yang Fine Arts Exhibition. In 1972, he studied oil painting and drawing at the Univ. of Washington, and later at the Cornish School of Allied Arts, both in Seattle. His first solo exhibition was at Seattle’s Moldrem Gallery.
Among his awards are the Taiwan Fine Arts Association’s Golden Cup, and Hualien County’s Passing the Torch prize for oil painting. Featured in more than a dozen solo exhibitions, including two at the Tamsui Center of Arts and Culture in 1998 and 2001, Yang’s art has also appeared in at least fifty group shows across Taiwan. Since 1963, the artist has lived with his family and maintained a studio in Tamsui, just north of Taipei.
Unless skilled in the source language, most readers encounter the words of foreign writers through translation. But visual art may cross borders with relative ease, depending on universality of theme and depiction. The most powerful art and writing retains its strength and currency by conveying persistent truths and beauties, however defined, however mediated. Klimt or Li Bai still move us, Gauguin or Wang Wei. East or west, such art tends to the omnivorous, taking what it needs wherever found, recasting toward new vision. Since the early 20th c., and especially postwar, many American poets have been informed by and indebted to translated classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. In Yang Wei-chung’s painting, we explore an intuited world, graced by a fruitful harmony with Impressionists or Fauvists such as Rouault, Dufy, Matisse, or Signac. These affinities are natural, his art’s chordal notes. Deep blues, sun-flecked groves, warm terracottas, cubes of houses, sharp-wedged light. Some of his paintings are partly representational, others fairly abstract. Yet Yang’s art remains nonetheless his own, wrought and enriched by his surround, whether the east coast of Taiwan where he grew up, the north coast mountains above Taipei, or an inner realm of pure shape and color. Like his late brother, the eminent Taiwan poet Yang Mu, also featured in this issue, Yang Wei-cheng draws sustenance wherever he looks.