The San Diego Museum of Art is proud to present six stunning new paintings, created specifically for the Museum by acclaimed contemporary Chinese artist Pan Gongkai. The most prominent of the works presented, at over 45 feet long, exemplifies the combination of classical brush and ink techniques and format in a contemporary context. Created with ink on rice paper, the monumental Noble Virtues can be read from right to left as the viewer walks along its length like a traditional Chinese handscroll. The artist utilizes spontaneous and expressive brushwork that borders on abstraction, an approach commonly associated with a Western style. Pan’s works will be displayed in Gallery 15—a public area adjacent to Panama 66 and the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court that frequently showcases new works by contemporary artists.
As president of one of the most prestigious art schools in China, the Central Academy of Arts, Pan is invested in the study and practice of traditional Chinese art and its history. Particularly occupied with the recent and rapid explosion of Western influence on China in the last century, Pan’s works explore the intersections and divergences between Eastern and Western art traditions. By combining elements of both perspectives, he presents a new relevancy of Chinese brush and ink painting in today’s world. This fusion of Chinese and Western techniques, once viewed as completely divergent artistic practices, results in a series of work that does not seek to reconcile the differences between the East and West, but rather adapts their unique qualities to reflect a global perspective from today’s China.