Ho Kan. Geometric Calligraphy

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67272-ho-kan-geometric-calligraphy

Eli Klein Gallery is honored to present “Geometric
Calligraphy” – Taiwanese abstraction master Ho Kan’s first ever solo exhibition in the United
States. Ho is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in Taiwan’s history of art whose
influence spans over five decades. This exhibition surveys 38 works in abstraction across a
variety of disciplines including oil on canvas, charcoal on paper, ink on rice paper and silkscreen
print. The works on display which were done from 2006 and 2019 exemplify Ho Kan’s unique
lexicon of treating geometric abstraction (commonly referred to as ‘cold abstraction’) with the
warmth of calligraphy and Eastern thoughts.

Ho Kan was a founding member of the pivotal “Ton Fan Art Group,” where he was instrumental
in the development of modern art in Taiwan. Ho was born in Nanjing, China in 1932, and
graduated from Taipei Teacher’s School Department of Art in 1953. He then studied
extensively in Milan, during which time he established his unique approach towards geometric
abstraction in which Eastern calligraphy and seal-carving are poetically integrated. He started
from the most simple but universal elements of □, △, and ○ to create his own lexicon in the arrangement of image and shape — embedding Eastern philosophy in the Western framework
of abstraction, resulting in a forward-looking and universal aesthetic.

Minimalism and geometric abstraction were responses in
formulating our aesthetics in accordance with standardized
production in the post-industrial era. This perspective is designed
to be appreciated without a focal point or center of gravity; any
color fields are to be treated as plains of absolute unity and
formality. Within these contexts, the “human factors” became mere
imperfections and were clearly de-focused. Ho Kan, on the other
hand, reintroduces the “human factor” into his geometric
abstractions in which all color fields seem different and “imperfect”.

This style developed naturally from his deep roots in calligraphy
and Chinese traditional paintings where “ink encompasses all the
five colors” (墨分五色) when black is progressively washed down.
Regardless of the tint, Ho’s color fields carry a hand-made warmth
that is inviting and inclusive, separating him from his Western
counterparts in geometric abstractions. Not limited to color fields,
these key characteristics are clearly detectable in his approach
towards lines and color-separators as well.

“Action through inaction” has always been one of Ho Kan’s favorite Taoist concepts. The
execution of “inaction” and not “over-doing” is exhibited in Ho Kan’s symmetry-breaking
slanted lines. In Abstract 2013-005 (2013), Abstract 2017-037
(2017) and many other works on view, a slanted line is inserted
with emphasis to unbalance the images – like an initiation or a
trigger. Nonetheless, this seemingly intrusive line doesn’t
overthrow the entire structure. It perfectly exemplifies Ho Kan’s
stance on how human maneuvers can organically co-exist with
our natural and social environment.

Whereas Eastern styles of abstraction have historically been overshadowed by Western
masters grouped by “schools” and “isms,” Ho Kan’s calligraphic approach towards geometric
abstraction carries such warmth, highlighting the human factors in our increasingly rigid and
mechanical world.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/67272-ho-kan-geometric-calligraphy