Ren Jian Hui’s Tibetian Series
The recent works of Ren Jianhui has taken us by surprise with the large oeuvre on Tibetan culture which leaves us with a trace of sensuously nostalgic enigma after looking at every of his paintings. Not only has he exhibited his study on the Tibetan folk life and the religious aspect in the highly solemn region of one of the greatest mysteries in the world, as in paintings such as “Tibetan Girls” and “Sound of Silence” respectively, he has also brought us close to a totally new art sensation. Just like Picasso and Braque bringing multiple perspectives from a moving eye onto the canvas, Ren has brought together antiquity, modernism and more than a tinge of personal emotion in front of our eyes. This is a phenomenon in Singapore art.
After exploring into different styles with various media in his art career of more than two decades, it seems that Ren has finally settled with his current way of expression. Through semi-realism, he is showing us a new found energy in modern oil painting which has included the combination of modernity and primitivism. By his unique methods of processing the paint, he has mastered the optimum way in treating background and foreground on a canvas separately yet producing a perfectly complementary effect. This did not come easy. For the first decade his art career, Ren has been painting in ink on paper more than anything else he has learnt in school. As a protégé he was immensely influenced by his teacher, the famous Wu Guanzhong. From realism he moved on to semi-abstraction and to abstraction in the Chinese medium but could not shake off the shadow of his teacher entirely. Perhaps the turning point for Ren was his trip to the Southeast Asian regions such as the exotic Bali and Java, where his emotions could only be expressed by oil on canvas with a wider selection of colours and brushstrokes. From then, for the first time, he practised his art entirely in oil, and began exploring ways to externalise his inner self. Eventually Ren has gradually matured in style and found his own way of expression in these years, the ingenious mélange of realism and abstraction, background and foreground, contemporary and classical, and Western and Chinese art. Only lately, the “hermit artist” has been discovered by several international galleries such as Opera, Soobin and Linda, and works have been displayed and sold in many countries. However, the search for truth never ends for Ren.
Through his works it seems, the potential in Ren has not yet been unleashed completely, for he never stops shocking viewers with the new. With the solid skills of draughtsmanship and creative genius in him, I believe the artist can become the one of the greatest in the history of Southeast Asian art in time to come. Alas, it is for him to explore and for us to find out.
Jack Ren Cong May 2005
在他几十年的艺术生涯中,任建辉尝试了各种不同的绘画媒介,直到现在,他似乎终于选定了他的表现风格。通过半写实手法,他在现代油画中展示出一种崭新的力量 – 由现代主义与原始主义的融合。独一无二的色彩运用法使他掌握了处理背景与前景的最佳方式,将它们在画布上分开的同时,造成一种完美的互补效果。这得来并不容易。在他艺术生涯的前十年中,任建辉使用水墨的时间比任何其它在学校所学的画法都要多。作为一个门徒,他的老师 – 著名画家吴冠中教授,很大程度上地感染了他。从写实主义,他运用水墨走过了半抽象主义,进而抽象主义,却很难完全走出老师的影子。也许,任建辉的转折点在于他南下东南亚地区来到了有着异国情调的巴厘岛与爪哇岛。在那里,他的情感只能在画布上,由各种不同的颜色与笔法在油画中表现出来。从那时起,他首次仅用油画作画,并开始探索多种方法来表现自我内心的感触。最终,任建辉的艺术风格渐渐成熟,并发现自己在这些年中独特的表达方法 – 把写实与抽象,背景与前景,当代与古典巧妙地混合,以及中西画法的结合。近期,这隐士般的艺术家被各大国际画廊所发现, 好比Opera, Soobin与Linda,他的作品更在多个国家展览及出售。尽管如此,寻找真理之道对任建辉来说并没有来到终点。