Nock Art Foundation Residency, Hong Kong

In April 2017 I was granted an arts residency in Hong Kong with the Nock Art Foundation for two months.

While in Hong Kong I sought out both traditional and contemporary Chinese Calligraphers. The Calligraphers whom I met generously shared their ideas, knowledge and philosophies about their painting and calligraphy. Their passion and dedication to their art was inspiring. They helped expand my understanding of Chinese aesthetics which I adopted into my painting in Hong Kong.

The traditional calligrapher Wu Ren was able to bridge the differences between traditional Chinese Calligraphy and contemporary Western painting. His comments on my abstracted ink paintings done in the residency highlighted similar aesthetic concerns shared between Eastern and Western artists. These concerns focused on the need for balance, variety, contrast, less uniformity, less symmetry, more voids (Liu bei) and connections between marks (Fu ying). He also stressed the need for a balance between the heart and the intellect. In his words, “the heart at best controls the hands, but the hand needs training”.

In general, compared to Western painting, traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy has a greater sensibility for space and line, providing breathing spaces. In contrast Western painting tends to fill space with solid colour like wall to wall carpet.

On returning to Australia I continue to build on my appreciation of Chinese aesthetics and calligraphy in my painting and drawing.

Ana Pollak, 2017

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