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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ideal Landscape Exhibit (Chinese landscape paintings) @ UMFA (SLC: Oct 7 - Jan 9, 2011)

Media Contacts:
--Shelbey Peterson, UMFA Public Relations & Marketing Associate,
801.585.1306, shelbey.peterson@umfa.utah.edu
--Luke Kelly, UMFA Associate Curator of Antiquities,
801.585.9769, luke.kelly@umfa.utah.edu
--Winston Kyan, University of Utah Professor of Art History,

The Ideal Landscape at the UMFA
Echoes the Heart and Mind of Chinese History and Ancestry

October 4, 2010, Salt Lake City - Chinese landscape painting, or Shan shui hua 山水畫, offers a glimpse into the natural harmony between artist, imagination, and environment. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is pleased to present The Ideal Landscape, an exhibition featuring twelve intricate Chinese scrolls from the museum’s permanent collection that date from the Ming Dynasty through the twentieth century. The exhibition will be on display in the UMFA’s second-floor LDS Galleria from October 7, 2010-January 9, 2011, and a free public lecture will be provided by University of Utah Professor of Art HIstory Winston Kyan on Wednesday, October 20 at 1 pm.

Chinese landscape painting possesses a rich legacy dating back to the early dynasties. The term Shan shui hua literally means “mountains and water,” which are dominant themes in each painting. These landscapes are not simple recreations of what the painter observed in nature, but are idealized scenes in the artist’s mind. In creating their work, Chinese landscape artists intended the viewer to be absorbed into the landscape as a means of meditation, as though they could wander the paths, listen to waterfalls, experience the elements, and become part of the scene itself. Yet to create this free and imaginative expression, the artists had to be disciplined, following conventions, styles, and techniques established by previous generations. According to an 18th century Chinese painting manual, a masterwork in Shan shui hua is a paradox: “The most complex scene appears simple; the scene that obeys every method has no method at all.”

The Ideal Landscape comprises one scroll dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), one object created during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), and ten paintings from the twentieth century. The majority of the scrolls are gifts of Dr. Marcus Jacobson, a longtime supporter of the UMFA. Before his death in 2001, Jacobson amassed a sizable collection of twentieth century Chinese paintings, many of which he purchased directly from the artists.

Lecture: "Mountains and Meanings in Chinese Landscape Painting"
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 1 pm
UMFA Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Auditorium
The art of landscape painting in China has always balanced the close observation of nature with the abstraction of its representation. This lecture by University of Utah Professor of Art History Winston Kyan will situate the Chinese paintings from the exhibition, The Ideal Landscape, into the broader context of Chinese art and history by examining the shifting significance of mountains from the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries.


The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on the University of Utah campus in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA’s mission is to engage visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world’s cultures. General admission is $7 adults, $5 youth and seniors, FREE for U of U students/staff/faculty, UMFA members, higher education students in Utah, and children under six years old. Free admission offered the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Weekends, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit www.umfa.utah.edu.

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