Shared appreciation of China’s classical tradition of art and culture proves to be a powerful unifying force in the art of ink-painter Arnold Chang and photographer Michael Cherney, whose works explore classical themes and allusions to create deft presentations of the mind, hand, and eye. In addition to their solo work, the exhibition highlights a number of collaborative pieces, in which a photographic image by Cherney becomes the starting point for Chang’s meandering, meditative brush.
Tianxia 天下, “all under heaven,” connotes the centrality of China, its geography and landscape, as well as its culture and history. In our increasingly shrinking, globalized world, it is a term that prompts questions not only of identity but the sustainability of both the physical and cultural realms in an age of profound transformation. Arnold Chang’s ink painting, inflected by knowledge of earlier masters, and Michael Cherney’s photography, chronicling not only the beauty of China’s mountains and rivers but also the toll of economic development, place landscape front and center in an exhibition that speaks eloquently of classical ideals but also reminds the viewer to look deeper and appreciate how the timeless is balanced by the fragile and ephemeral.