I visited the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts to see the 30th Annual Exhibition of New Year Prints. I immediately saw the big, bright and red exhibition. The special decoration of the museum ignited my curiosity because I used to see the museum with white walls hanging with different art pieces. Since it’s the Year of the Goat in Chinese culture, I sensed the festive excitements. The ambience is vivid and not as dull as usual. Red walls add the festive spirit to the exhibition. I experienced the emotional effects of color that are used.
The walls used to display the artworks are all red. It implies the bountiful blessings and fortunes in the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Despite the blissful feelings of surrounding, there are two pieces of paintings that caught my attentions. Both of them have their own unique characteristics. One is the silkscreen by LU Yen-Ching, Wealth, Prosperity and Auspices for the Year of the Goat, 2014, 47 x 32. 5 cm and the other is the woodcut by Lee Chiung-Hua, The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, 2014, 54. 5 x 39. 5 cm.
Both of art pieces have similar meanings of wishing 2015 to be a happy year and hoping for a flourishing year. Thick lines and lightening effects are used in both paintings. However, there are some differences with the festive symbols used to convey the messages. Also, value, shape, color and textures are applied in both pieces differently. Both of them are drawn on different materials. One is on the woodcut and the other one is on the silkscreen. Wealth, Prosperity and Auspices for the Year of the Goat, shows the focus on the peony flowers and scale is larger than any objects in the image.
The colors of flowers are bright and it catches our attentions to make it the centered part. However, in The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, the white and large goat is the focus and the emphasis. As a viewer, the goat is placed in a well- balanced position as other subjects in the image and it is the figure. The different emphasis gives viewers different intuitions about the message it wants to convey. However, we view things as a coherent whole and we conclude that they both provide the messages of wishing people a good year.
From the texture aspects of each piece, the goats in The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, has more visual textures than the other one. As I observed the big white goat, I saw the details of the fur. Our eyes interpret the texture of the goat hair to be fluffy. While the waves of the sea at the back, the visual texture doesn’t try to depict the texture of the water itself. The lines in the background convey the messages of a roughness. However, in Wealth, Prosperity and Auspices for the Year of the Goat, the goats at the bottom, do not have much visual textures.
They don’t have any specific touch to emphasize the details. While there is not actual real line in our surroundings, LU Yen-Ching and Lee Chiung-Hua create contour lines as a symbol for represented images. In Wealth, Prosperity and Auspices for the Year of the Goat, the peony flowers are drawn with thick- brushed pink lines. This portrays the flowers are the important symbol of acquisition of wealth and good fortunes. While in The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, the bat, the golden balls and the gold ingot-carrying carp are all drawn with bold lines.
All of them are the symbols of excessive wealth in the image of Chinese culture. They are drawn in thick lines to mark as important images. Even though both pieces portray the same general meanings, they used different symbols. LU Yen-Ching uses peony flowers and goats as the main images to represent the excessive wealth, fortunes and health. However, Lee Chiung-Hua uses the ocean, golden balls, and goats to provide viewers the same blessings. Ocean symbolizes rise and the hope, while the goats bring us happiness.
Goats also bring us the auspices. We can conclude that Chinese symbols have common sounds and the similar messages. From the value perspective views of each art piece, both paintings have relatively high value range. Value enables our eyes to create the lifelike feelings even on the two- dimensional and flat surfaces. LU Yen-Ching uses the wild range of color between the figure and the ground. The background is a brown color and the flower is a pinkish red color. The colorful color of the flowers make the painting stands out and not flat.
Also, the same effect is shown on The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, the white goat with the blue sea in the back makes the painting look more lifelike. Light is an important component to make three- dimensional work. Even though there is no actual light in both pieces, the gradual change of colors makes the subjects more defined. In Wealth, Prosperity and Auspices for the Year of the Goat, as we look from top to bottom, the brown gets darker. This is similar to the lighting effect that is shown on the peony flowers. In The Year of Goat, a Year of Flamboyance, as we look from top to bottom, the blue gets darker.
This effect makes the goats stand out. Overall, wealth, prosperity and auspices for the Year of the Goat and a Year of Flamboyance have similarities on the thick lines and the lighting effects. They convey the same general message. They express the joy and happiness of the Lunar New Year. However, there are some other differences used to make them unique. Value, shape, color, festive symbols and texture are used differently throughout the paintings. These two different art pieces are also good representations of the Chinese Lunar New Year.