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Carleton Presents “Ancient Masters in Modern Styles: Chinese Ink Paintings from the 16th–21st Centuries”

December 11, 2012

Carleton College is pleased to present “Ancient Masters in Modern Styles: Chinese Ink Paintings from the 16th-21st Centuries,” opening Friday, Jan. 11 in the Braucher Gallery of the Perlman Teaching Museum, located in the College’s Weitz Center for Creativity. This exquisite exhibition is curated by Kathleen M. Ryor, Carleton professor of art history, and comes to the College from the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia and Lijin collections. Celebrating the beauty and rich variety of ink painting over centuries, works in “Ancient Masters in Modern Styles” embody both tradition and transformation in practices transmitted from generation to generation.

“Ancient Masters in Modern Styles” features over 30 exquisite paintings, spanning nearly four centuries. Sweeping landscapes and detailed flower and bird subjects are just some of subjects presented in hanging and hand scrolls, fan paintings, and in other formats. The exhibit opens on Friday, Jan. 11 with a lecture by curator Kathleen Ryor, “Finding Consolation in the Present By Seeking the Past: Chinese Artists’ Dialogues with Ancient Masters,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity, Room 236. Following Ryor’s lecture, the opening reception will feature a special musical performance by Carleton College’s acclaimed Chinese Music Ensemble, led by Gao Hong. The reception and performance takes place from 8:30 to 10 p.m. in the Perlman Teaching Museum and in the Weitz Center Commons.

The Chinese art of ink painting is an ancient and continuously practiced tradition transmitted in part through the study of works by past masters. The styles of the greatest artists of the past guided successive generations of painters in China into the twentieth century. However, Chinese painters avoided slavish imitation. They self-consciously evoked past masters’ styles while simultaneously transforming and sometimes subverting them

This exhibition of Chinese ink paintings from the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia Art Museum and Lijin Collections, juxtaposing early modern and more recent works, examines the influence of this long tradition on later artists and how each generation of Chinese painters seeks to balance reverence for the art of old masters with their own requirements for artistic expression. The exhibit investigates style, subject matter and the inscriptions on paintings, and illuminates social and historical contexts.

Ancient Masters in Modern Styles: Chinese Ink Paintings from the 16th-21st Centuries” is on display through March 13, 2013. The Perlman Teaching Museum is located in the Weitz Center for Creativity at Third and College Streets. Hours are: Monday–Wednesday: 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; Thursday–Friday: 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Saturday: noon–4:00 p.m.; and Sunday: closed. For more information, call 507-222-4342 or 4469 or visit