Landscape No. 472 hails from a “moment of heightened creativity” for CC Wang that coincided with a period of recovery from a near fatal surgery in early 1983. In the span of a month, he created four paintings that share similar composition and colour schemes and unlike similar landscapes in the “dragon vein” variation painted in earlier years, these works were vertical in composition. This present lot is a result of the artist’s tendency to focus on a particular artistic theme and produce variations on each successive work within a limited time frame. Exhibited on the occasion of the artist’s exhibition at the National Museum of History in Taipei in 1983, Landscape No. 472 was subsequently featured in various publications as a prime example of Wang’s mature works. According to Jerome Silbergeld, a total of nine works from this period represent “the most highly personal and original of all the artist’s work, the most thorough transformation of his scholarly tastes into a modern idiom, yet stern and uncompromising in their artistic values.”1
This period of painting introduces a prominence of colour in his paintings and CC Wang’s innovative “back-painting” technique where the natural pigments are applied to the back surface of the paper in repeated applications, requiring a great deal of time and patience to realize the final composition. In contrast to his earlier period of experimentation using folded and wrinkled paper dipped in ink to create accidental textures in his landscape forms, his mature series of paintings employ this process of painting on both front and back of the paper thus illustrating a natural dialogue between the artist and his materials. The artist remarks on this technique that “It is not a solid colour—some comes through, some doesn’t come through. It has a modern sense. It produces natural markings and gives a natural feeling. I’m not sure what it’s going to come out like, because where the pigment goes through the paper and where it doesn’t go through is very hard to control.”2
1 Silbergeld, Jerome. Mind Landscapes: The Paintings of C.C. Wang, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, USA, 1987, p. 103
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