NEW YORK – “Not everyone realises how much there is to discover here,” said Rachel Smith, Sotheby’s head of loyalty and events, as guests arrived at our York Avenue headquarters on Sunday morning for a breakfast and exhibition tour. “We started Sundays at Sotheby’s to welcome a wider audience to experience all that we have to offer,” added Smith, who noted that the recently launched series of casual weekend events in our galleries provide a fascinating and fresh perspective on art and collecting. In this case, that meant an exhibition tour of The Literati Within led by the artists themselves. Utilising a range of mediums from ink art to photography, the five talents described the inspiration and process behind their works to a captivated crowd. Read on for highlights of the enlightening afternoon.  

For more information about Sundays at Sotheby’s and upcoming educational and entertaining events, please email Events@sothebys.com.


Michael Cherney & Arnold Chang


MICHAEL CHERNEY AND ARNOLD CHANG DISCUSS THEIR COLLABORATIVE PIECE INK BAMBOO NO. 1. PHOTO BY MATT HAYEK.

“[Our work] is really about just looking for a little bit of an excerpt that has the potential to be expanded upon. Arnold never really sees the source of where the image comes from. This one is a bit of a departure from what we’ve done in the past because usually it’s a piece of a landscape, and in this case, it’s bamboo. I print the photos and give Arnold the sheet to work on (Arnold doesn’t paint on the photo – he just paints around it). The photograph is very crisp and clear, not abstract at all. In most classical paintings, a landscape may be an interpretation of a real place, but it’s never truly realistic. So, with our collaboration, we try to find that middle ground.” –Michael Cherney

Peng Wei


PENG WEI WITH FAN NO. 65.  PHOTOGRAPH BY MATT HAYEK.

“It’s a series started just two years ago. I usually like to work large scale, but I also do more intimate works too. The small works at the museums are equally as powerful as large works because they force people to come in and address them in an intimate way. It’s very easy to miss small, intimate pieces nowadays because the current trend is for very big works in very big spaces. Even though it’s a traditional fan shape, there are very small details from Western paintings enlarged on the fans. I’m extremely moved by the details of Western painting. The faces touch me. Actually, I think that for the painting of faces, Western paintings are sometimes better than Chinese. In Chinese painting, they are almost the same. But in Western painting, the faces are so different. They are human. They are moving.” –Peng Wei

Lois Conner


LOIS CONNER WITH HER PHOTOGRAPH LESHAN, SICHUAN, CHINA. PHOTO BY MATT HAYEK.

“One of the things I’m kind of obsessed with, and what eventually led me to this elongated format, was Chinese painting. I got a fellowship in 1984, and I spent nine months in China, and I’ve spent much of the last 31 years going back because I feel like I’m just beginning…I started with the most famous landscapes, one of which is Huangshan. I walked three days to the top of this mountain with 75 pounds of equipment, and you know, my camera is very big. The negatives are seven-by-seventeen inches, and in the beginning, I could only make contact prints. There was no way to enlarge my negatives. But eventually I thought there should be a way, and around ten years ago, the digital world became articulate enough to resolve the information that was in my negatives. For me, the larger prints give a different kind of presence.” –Lois Conner

Ding Qiao


MICHAEL CHERNEY TRANSLATES FOR DING QIAO (RIGHT), WHO EXPLAINS WATCHING THE TIDE, A PAINTING ON SILK. PHOTO BY MATT HAYEK.

“You might recognise this kind of pattern from Tai Chi symbolism. The water element is one part of that whole philosophy. These are all shapes and forms that come from nature. The title is Watching the Tide, which essentially shows the beauty of the shapes of the water. It’s a view of universal shapes and forms.” –Ding Qiao

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文心內秀

10 March 2016 - 20 March 2016 | New York