Illuminated Presence–Yeh Shih-Chiang: Paintings and Calligraphy + Yeh Wei-li: Interpretive Works
By Simon Frank
It is hard to know where to place Yeh Shih-Chiang’s art. His oeuvre spans from calligraphic works that are expressively raw—but not entirely separate from Chinese tradition—to ones that are cool abstract fields of color. “Illuminated Presence” at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, which presented his work alongside that of younger Taiwanese-American artist Yeh Wei-Li (no relation to Shih-Chiang), had the feel of a career-making show for an emerging painter. Yet the older artist passed away in 2012 at the age of 86, and only began to show his work later in life. Born in Guangdong in 1926, Yeh Shih-Chiang arrived in Taiwan in 1949 when his plans to see the world were interrupted by China’s civil war. His career followed an unusual trajectory for a modern artist, which focused more on self-refinement and teaching than exhibiting his paintings. Building off Yeh Shih-Chiang’s enigmatic reputation, photographs by Yeh Wei-Li in the exhibition reinterpreted the senior artist’s work to explore how his approach to life shaped his practice.