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Item Name: Painting
Title: Bird on a Branch
Maker: Caroline Wang
Year: 1973
Country: Canadian
Materials: chinese ink on watercolour
Measurements: in frame: 49 cm x 42 cm; work: 30.5 cm x 38 cm
ID Number: ART 016
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: The composition in this ink painting balances the white space of the paper with a beautifully rendered image of a bird on a branch. The brushwork is very precise, and is a good example of the aesthetics developed in Chinese ink painting. Artists trained in this method observe the energy or qi of their subject matter, and then use a specific set of brush strokes to create their image. Learning to use a vocabulary of brush strokes is a very similar process to the method that dancers or fighters use, learning specific movements in ballet or martial arts. Chinese ink and water wash painting, known as Sumi, began in China in the 4th century. This painting by Caroline Wang is reflective of her study with Chao Shao-an (Zhao Shao'ang). He was a master in the Lingnan School of painting, which blends techniques of Sumi style brushwork with the more Western method of closely studying nature used in realist painting. Caroline Wang was born in Shanghai, China in the early 20th century, and later moved to Taiwan. Not much is known about her life, but this emigration may have been in response to the post-war upheaval in China. In Taiwan, Wang earned her BA (Law) at Taiwan University in Taipei (1957), and also began formal education in the art of Chinese Ink Painting. She studied with Helen Wang in Kachsiung, Taiwan from 1957 to 1963. Moving to (British controlled) Hong Kong in 1964, she continued her study of painting at the Lingnan School of painting. Wang also studied painting with Mr & Mrs. Chow Chian Chiu, and calligraphy with Wang Sei po. Later that year, she emigrated to Canada, moving to Truro, Nova Scotia. There, she received an art grant from Canada Council in 1967. In 1970, Wang moved to Illinois to study Chinese painting at Urbana. In 1973, she moved back to Canada, and began studies in clay production at the University of Regina. She taught a course in Chinese painting at the University in Regina in 1975. Exhibitions of her work at that time include a solo show at the (now defunct) Gallery on the Roof, at the Saskatchewan Power Building (1973).