KIA Opens Rhythms of Abstraction: Landscape Duets of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney

China's sublime landscape featured in exhibition of photographs and paintings

Posted: March 1, 2016

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open a new exhibition on March 16: Rhythms of Abstraction: Landscape Duets of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney.

The exhibition features 20 works by the artists -- both solo and collaborative -- that explore the landscape of China through painting and photography. The artists will visit the KIA Monday, March 21, for a reception at 5:30 and talk at 6:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Although both Chang and Cherney are New York-born, their contrasting backgrounds reflect a dialogue between traditional and contemporary approaches to art, between Asian and Western artistic modes, and even between of geographical locales, as they live on different continents.

Arnold Chang, working from a studio in New Jersey, has become one of the world's most respected painters working in the traditional Chinese style of brush-and-ink painting. Self-taught photographer Michael Cherney was raised in upstate New York but, entranced by Chinese culture and language, moved to Beijing in 1991. His photography presents China's sublime natural beauty, with a poetic vision and painterly style, inspired by the art of Chinese painting.

When the two met in 2007, they recognized compatibility between Chang's personal brushwork and Cherney's granular photographs. Since 2009, they have been creating joint works that explore the differences and highlight the similarities between their two mediums.

In Beijing, Cherney distills his photographs by printing a detail on a larger piece of paper, which he sends to Chang in New York. Studying the photographic image, Chang expands the landscape intuitively and imaginatively with his deft brushstrokes in ink and color.

"In the hands of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney, the Chinese landscape is contemplative, thoughtful, sublime, and powerful. Their work is both moving and memorable," says Vicki Wright, KIA Director of Collections and Exhibitions. After exhibitions of their work at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, and most recently the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is honored to share this exhibition with the community in Kalamazoo and through Southwest Michigan.

The exhibition and program are supported by the Joy Light East Asian Art Acquisition and Exhibition Fund. The exhibition continues through June 19.