From the earliest period when calligraphy and painting were raised to the status of art forms in China, successful works have been discussed in terms of nature and the body. From how the brush is held to the posture of the artist, the act of ink painting is intimately tied to the human body. Anatomical terms such as flesh, bone, and sinew have long been used to describe the structure and form of brushwork. These associations allow the viewer to decipher the character of the artist from his or her stylistic choices.
The expressive relationship of Chinese ink painting and calligraphy to character traits and the human body was also particularly appealing to twentieth-century American artists. In this joint talk, Nicole L. Woods, assistant professor of modern and contemporary art, and Fletcher Coleman, guest curator and visiting teaching professor of Asian art, will explore the role of the body and expressiveness in the art of Chao Shao-an (趙少昂, 1905-1998) and the American action painter Jackson Pollock (1912-1956).