Ti­betan art

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words - For The New Mex­i­can

pho­to­re­al­ism artist Chuck Close, Lu­cian Freud, Frida Kahlo, and

David Hock­ney.” A se­ries of prints on can­vas, each one de­pict­ing an

iden­ti­cal Bud­dha im­age, done in vivid colors such as ma­genta, gold,

and bright green, re­sem­bleWarhol’s silk-screen im­ages of celebri­ties.

“ My Bud­dha im­ages have an ar­ti­fi­cial qual­ity, same as my other

por­traits and which are re­flect­ing our con­tem­po­rary pop cul­ture

too,” Tashi said.

Im­ages like the Bud­dha se­ries un­der­score the con­tin­u­ing di­a­logue

be­tween tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary art forms. Tashi’s land­scapes,

also rep­re­sented in the show at PW Con­tem­po­rary, re­flect an

aes­thetic qual­ity that can be seen in older Ti­betan paint­ing styles.

“ When I painted land­scapes, I was very much con­cerned with

mak­ing a kind of Ti­betan mod­ern art, even though I was us­ing

none of the tra­di­tional medi­ums. I have ab­sorbed some el­e­ments

from tra­di­tional art, like vivid out­line, which was al­ways used by

tra­di­tional artists when they painted land­scapes, plants and so on.

If you look at the Ti­betan land­scape, the out­lines of na­ture, color,

and con­trast al­ways are very sharp and clear.”

As a con­tem­po­rary artist, Tashi faced chal­lenges get­ting his work

seen by the pub­lic be­cause of the high value placed on the tra­di­tional

arts of Ti­bet. “Gen­er­ally speak­ing, out­siders know much more about

the Ti­betan tra­di­tional art than the Ti­betan con­tem­po­rary art. For

tourists and sou­venir col­lec­tors, usu­ally they buy tra­di­tional art,

hand­crafts as made by Ti­betans. How­ever, con­tem­po­rary Ti­betan

art has been de­vel­op­ing and grow­ing since the mid­dle of the last

cen­tury, es­pe­cially af­ter the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion. And slowly

have changed peo­ple’s un­der­stand­ing of Ti­betan art and artists. In

Oc­to­ber, I had a solo ex­hi­bi­tion at the art gallery Rossi & Rossi in

Lon­don, and now I’m go­ing to have an­other ex­hi­bi­tion at Peace­ful

Wind Gallery in Santa Fe. Twenty years back, th­ese would have been

im­pos­si­ble for me.”

Artists in China and Ti­bet faced other chal­lenges un­der Mao

Ze­dong dur­ing the Cul­tural Revo­lu­tion, when con­tem­po­rary art

was cre­ated in ser­vice to the state. “ Un­til eco­nomic re­form started

in China in the early 1980s, in­clud­ing the Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous

Tse­wang Tashi:

Un­ti­tled No.

Wine Seller No.

3, 2009,

1, 2009,

oil on can­vas, 51 x 51 inches

oil on can­vas, 57 x 38 inches

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