▲ Master Shen-Long (神龍). Photo courtesy of the artist.
The Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas will present the exhibition Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long, featuring sculptural and dynamic works dating from the 1980s to the present, offering visitors an immersive installation to explore and experience the artist’s practice. Boasting items never before seen in a U.S. museum, the exhibition will display works of art ranging from oversized paper and canvas paintings (measuring several hundred feet long) to Bowie knives with exquisitely carved blades.
Free and open to the public, Future Retrospective runs June 1, 2019-Aug. 23, 2020, at the Dallas Arts District museum located at 2010 Flora St., Dallas, Texas, 75201. NOTE: A Media Preview Day to tour the exhibition is slated for Thursday, May 30, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Details forthcoming.
For more than 50 years, Master Shen-Long – a multidisciplinary artist and contemporary master of the classical Chinese literati perfections of painting, poetry, and calligraphy – has pioneered new approaches to painting, making him one of the most innovative ink artists of this generation. In the early 1990s, he developed a new abstract ink method for paper and canvas, resulting in richly detailed reversible works of art that blur the line between painting and sculpture and expresses unlimited time, space and endless movement. Influenced by his deep understanding of Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian philosophies, Master Shen-Long’s bold and experimental work challenges and innovates upon tradition while raising important concepts regarding mankind’s relationship with the universe. This exhibition will not only serve as the artist’s mid-career retrospective, but it is also the artist’s first solo museum presentation in Texas.
“When I first walked into Master Shen Long’s studio in 2017, I was astonished to realize how Dallas has changed. This artist of international reputation, with the skill and artistry of master-level calligraphy working in a Design-District Studio, taught me that we are a very international city attracting makers of art of the highest quality and on an impressive scale,” said Amy Lewis Hofland, director of the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas. “This exhibition heralds the change: no longer do we have to ship great, masterful work here: Dallas is the place international artists can live, create and debut their work.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Master Shen-Long works in a limitless variety of styles, formats and techniques, including ink painting, seal-carving, and ceramics. The size of his paintings range from very small delicate works, to multi-sheet compositions of full-size traditionally handmade xuan (rice) papers spanning 4 feet to 20 feet, to large oversized rolls of various fabrics measuring hundreds of feet long. He employs traditional Chinese materials such as brush and ink and combines them with nontraditional modern materials such as spray paint, raw canvas, a variety of fabrics and found objects – a happy marriage and crystallization of many years of artistic exploration and practice.
In past years, Master Shen-Long has charted a dramatic transformation in his work, utilizing all of his talents within large-scale reversible and sculptural works that express his expertise in painting, calligraphy, poetic composition and material exploration. On display in this exhibition will be a selection of Master Shen-Long’s most recent oversized paper and canvas paintings as well as rarely seen delicate works on handmade xuan paper and raw silk and ceramic sculptures, the majority of which are being exhibited for the first time in a U.S. museum. On the occasion of this retrospective exhibition and in celebration of the great state of Texas, also on display for the first time will be a selection of Bowie knives with each of their steel blades uniquely carved by the artist. The Bowie knife is a type of fixed-blade fighting knife famously used by American pioneer and folk hero James “Jim” Bowie who is said to have died at the Alamo. All of these graphic works illustrate the range and depth of Master Shen-Long’s artistic practice.
As a Dhyana (Zen) Buddhist Master and founder of the Enlightenment Mind School, Master Shen-Long has published many books and conducted many public talks on several essential sutras of Buddhism. Philosophically and creatively, Master Shen-Long attempts to express the inexhaustible energy of the universe in his writings and through his art. He created the theory and philosophy of “enlightenment power and ability” and published A Manifesto on the Use of Enlightenment Power and Ability in Art Creation, coining the concept of “enlightenment power and ability in art creation” to describe the pure inherent nature of all beings and the use of one's inherent wisdom to create art and one's life.
“Master Shen-Long is an artist with the ability to make visual the infinite. His work allows us the chance to contemplate existence by creating works that, with further inspection, feel expansive and limitless,” said Dr. Jacqueline Chao, the museum’s senior curator of Asian art and curator of the exhibition. “A natural teacher, his works of art resonate with his deep philosophical wisdom and playful spirit. Even more, his works display extraordinary appearances that are at once finite and infinite, male and female, earthly and heavenly, conceptual and physical – all of which renew and inspire our own process for knowing ourselves and for better understanding the human condition.”
At an early age, Master Shen-Long studied painting techniques that have long been forgotten over the centuries. He was an artist disciple of the Han Yu Tang, the studio of the royal prince Pu Ru (Pu Xinyu; 1896-1963), who was cousin of the 12th and last emperor of the Qing dynasty, (1644-1911) Pu Yi (1906-1967). His artwork has been presented at various institutions around the world.
His recent publications include Wisdom of the Heart Sutra (2011), Amitabha (2013), Prajna, Volumes I & II (2013), and Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (2014). On the occasion of this exhibition, Master Shen-Long will release his newest publication, Master Shen-Long: Art, Life, Wisdom (2019), a 500+-page retrospective volume of his selected writings and artworks.
The following exhibition-related public and member program will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition:
Member Reception and Artist Talk
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 6-8 p.m.
Join Museum Director Amy Lewis Hofland for a members-only exhibition reception and artist talk with Master Shen-Long.
Other events are to be announced at a later date.
Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long is organized by the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas and curated by Dr. Jacqueline Chao, senior curator of Asian art. The museum is supported by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas is open Tuesdays-Sundays (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission is free. The museum is located downtown at 2010 Flora St., Dallas, Texas, 75201. For more information, please go to crowmuseum.org or call 214-979-6440.