Tao Dongdong's Paintings: Prajna of Water
By Xia Kejun
We are living in an internet era dominated by images, in which everything can be associated to the illusionary bubbles, as described in the Dimond Sutra. The responsibility of the painter is to find the concentration and devotion within the chaotic distractions. It is important, as described in the Dimond Sutra "to find your own heart only when there is no attachment to the world"; so the artist has to gear up the inner power of his soul to redirect the attention of the current era. Painting, therefore, is characterized by a new ethical connotation that features both energy transformation and entropyreduction. The more complicated it gets, the more we should stay calm. The more we advance into the depth of swirls, the more it is necessary to find the resonant rhythm within. The aesthetics of energy transformation marks the difference between painting and other traditional media.
The works of Tao Dongdong have offered us a brand-new experience about energy transformation. In the paintings we can find the rush of countless glittering waves, or the flickering illusionary rainbow on water; the magnetic field of the cosmos that spreads like the circles of sacred halos to the faces of renaissance portraits, adding grace to their faces. In the series of Holy Portraits, the sacred light is activated by the mind of the buddha: the magnetic character of the painting suggests the energy transformation, brimming with the colorful ripple dance on the water. Those light and bubbles are jiggling and spreading in a dreamy scenario, so that painting is not just a visual appreciation, but also involves a process of acceptance of light and waves in a magnetic field. Paintings have also become the synchronizer to induce the energy of life.
The light and waves vibrating with spiritual rhythms are the representation of souls, the veils of life, the prajna of water, and the witness of the inexhaustible beats of the universe. The painter looks into the transient electronic waves in the universe over and over again and condenses them in between the respirations of our hearts and our minds.
It is not as easy as it seems to draw the mysterious jiggling ripples and waves as well as the magnetic field that reflects the rhythm of life and universe, due to the existence of paradoxes in the painting. On one hand, every infinitesimal ripple or wave is given unique colors and the undulating lines and curves shall all be presented in a fascinating fashion; on the other hand, in the back-and-forth adjustment and depiction, the final result is subject to the patient exploration and re-adjustment, so that the painting process also reflects the adjustment of induction channels of life. It takes a great deal of re-adjustment on both aspects until a free flow of the general rhythm that echoes with mysterious melodies appears on the painting and a grand swirling space is presented, which is exactly the time when the painting finds the principle of its existence.
陶冬冬，千里江山图，2018，200 x 420cm，布面油画 ? 2019 陶冬冬
Tao Dongdong, China Blue, 2018, 200 x 420cm, Oil on Canvas ? 2019 Tao Dongdong
In the latest work called Spiritual Mountains, the prajna of water is reduced to the natural elements, from a glorious status of Buddhism and Christianism to a vaporized form in the natural world, displaying the rocks rolling like colorful clouds that are decorative and, in the meantime, serves as the screen with patterns of green mountains and clear rivers inspired by the cloud patterns of traditional Chinese Ruyi. The magical changes come from Tao's unique understanding of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. It is the imaginary scenarios that only exist for the immortals where everything is not what it seems. Tao Dongdong has accurately captured the rhythm of natural elements in the illusionary world and has found the eternity that modernity never contains. In the painting, the clouds, rocks, light, vapor are all perfectly blended into the ever-changing magnetic field, conveying a sense of spatial mysticism, the painting energy that has been lost since Gustav Klimt's age but takes on a new look through the transformation of oriental wisdom of prajna.
Tao Dongdong's works enjoy great significance in contemporary era for its combination of the serene observation method in oriental religions and the glorious grace in the western religions, reflection of exquisite vibration of the information of universe, transformation of the modern technology of brain wave induction, and the assimilation of the perils of modern mindsets. In face of the era of emptiness where people are constantly distracted, paintings still serve as the adjusting harbor to let us find a transformative magnetic field for life, to let our observation undergo more changes so as to obtain the calmness of prajna and to be embraced by the enormity of life.
Graduated from the Department of Art and Crafts of Tsinghua University, the artist Tao Dongdong used to draw huge-size murals in the United States and had the opportunity to make facsimiles of murals in Yongle Palace in Shanxi China. Those experiences have left deep impression on him and formed his instinct sensitivity to reliefs in his creation. Even decades after those experiences, he has been striving to approximate to that sense of mystery, looking for the extremely expressive pigments that look like relief glazes in constant readjustment of light and waves. Such feature of pigments is also the essence of Dunhuang murals. In Tao Dongdong's paintings, the tones of oil painting render his works ever more impressive and magnificent, in which the bright light and everchanging colors are never fading and bring the works a lot closer to eternity.
“水般若——陶冬冬个展” 展览现场 ? 2019 芳草地画廊
Exhibition View of Prajna of Water Tao Dongdong Solo Exhibition ? 2019 Parkview Green Art
关于艺术家 | About the Artist