Huang Rui’s pictorial abstraction is rooted in Chinese tradition, as this exhibition made clear. The architecture of old Beijing is the first model for his workits courtyards and hutongs (narrow alleys), the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the gardens of Suzhou and the cave temples of Dunhuang. The artist included three works from his “Space Structures” series, begun in 1984, in which he represents the urban plan of the city’s historic quarters. The transition from architecture to painting is visible in earthy colors that recall the fortifications of the Imperial City, and these pictorial cartographies uncover the organization of the urban grid, present but imperceptible to those who traverse the city.
The hexagrams of the ancient Chinese divinatory text I Ching (Book of Changes) provide a second model for Huang; six horizontal lines, joined or broken, are methodically
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