Galloping Horse & Scenic Chatter

            “My heart is like a wild horse which cannot put up with shackles, and often longing to run away, to find a new path...” said Dennis Hwang.

            If you look up Dennis Hwang on the Internet you are bound to come upon a young artist famous for his colourful Google logos. But if you delve a little deeper, you will discover another Dennis Hwang, an artist of a very different calibre.

            Born in Xiamen, China, in 1941, Hwang was known for his peripatetic ways and nicknamed by friends and collectors the "Windy Fellow". Winds finally blew Hwang to Taiwan in 1950, and in 1972 his career was launched internationally when he was invited by the U.S. Department of State to come to North America as a visiting artist. In New York, Hwang rubbed shoulders with many famous artists, such as Pierre Alechinsky and Karel Appel of the COBRA movement, as well as renowned Chinese artists Walasse Ting (1929-2010) and Chuang Che, with whom he developed a lasting friendship.

            Hwang's art defies his age. His paintings and sculptures burst with colour and joy. They are playful but far from superficial; imbued with Eastern philosophy and art, they are truly unique works impossible to categorize.

            His sculptures are particularly delightful. Whimsical creations with a hint of Miro, painted in bright colours, almost toy-like. Small and accessible, they are eye candy and sell fast.  Prancing horses and dancing ladies bring an instant smile to any viewer. (Horses hold a special place in the artist's soul, as he sometimes describes himself as a horse, an animal considered to be humanity's friend.)

            His painting look abstract at first glance, the eye overwhelmed by the vibrant colours, but at closer inspection an entire universe opens up, figures appear among the undulating scenery, and the narrative unfurls like a Chinese scroll.

            Just as an aside: Hwang is also known as "Esquire of Cola Hub" from the name of his studio, Cola, for the artist's favourite soda. Hwang chose the name for another reason; he wanted his space to have a pleasant atmosphere to create in, and the Mandarin translation of the word "cola"  holds a similar meaning to the word "pleasing".

 

Dorota Kozinska