Tian Liming


Tian Liming
b. 1955, Beijing
Traditional Chinese painter
Tian Liming, an artist in the ink-painting mode, is a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association. He grew up in Beijing. As a sixteen-year-old, he enlisted in the PLA where, owing to his talents, he served as an artist; he was even dispatched to Tibet to depict ‘the true life of the highland people’. In the following years, he was invited to participate in numerous exhibitions and secured a valid place on the national art scene. In the meantime, he received a comprehensive art education in the Ink-painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (1982–5) under Lu Chen (b. 1935) and remained in the department after graduation. His paintings from this early period were composed of fast pomo (splash) brushstrokes, resulting in a spontaneous style known as da xieyi (very loose and watery brushstrokes).
In 1989, after enrolling in a graduate course at the Department of Ink-painting, he began to diverge from the model set by Lu Chen. Attracted by the New Literati Painting, he participated in most of their annual exhibitions until 1997, when the movement dissolved. In the late 1990s, he became the Deputy Head of the Ink-painting Department at the Central Academy.
At first sight, Tian Liming’s paintings may not be suggestive of Chinese ink-painting, and some critics have pointed to Western influence. He does not restrict himself to the mere use of ink-painting techniques, employing, for example, colours in the manner of water-colouring. His are predominantly figure paintings and he is best known for a series of diluted, archetypal figures rendered in pastel colours and transparent washes. His favourite theme, however, is water, be it as background for at times naïve-looking figures, or as subject in its own right, deep and transparent, tinted with light colours. He is particularly suggestive in the rendition of the play of light and shadows, unknown in traditional Chinese art.
Olivová, Lucie (2001). Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting: Tradition and Experiment. Prague: The National Gallery in Prague, 58–64.
LUCIE OLIVOVÁ

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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