Weimin Huang

By Kuspit, Donald | Artforum International, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Weimin Huang


Kuspit, Donald, Artforum International


LANCE FUNG GALLERY

Weimin Huang's paintings are at once subdued and stunning: subtly luminous vertical lines, of various lengths and widths but all more or less narrow and self-contained, suspended in a grisaille field. The lines sometimes extend to but never quite reach the edges of the canvas, and broad bands of gray space bracket them, creating an effect of balance despite the asymmetry of each group of verticals. The illusion that the lines are floating seems to intensify the longer one looks. This doubtless has something to do with the fact that each line is composed of minute, intricately linked gestural marks, which slowly but surely make their intimate presence felt, contradicting the detachment of the tall verticals they constitute. The lines are like stalactites former drip by drip in a cave of space so unfathomably deep that it appears flat. In Huang's paintings we are dealing with the numinous, which, as theologist Rudolf Otto wrote, involves not only awe but anxiety--the anxiety that Pascal said the empty space of the night sky aroused in him. Huang has "depicted," with meticulous nuance, the uncanniness of space--inner space as well as cosmic space, which seem to converge in the experience of the numinous.

Huang was born in 1955 in China and trained in architecture in Japan; he lived in New York for ten years, until his sudden death during the run of this show. Art historically speaking, his works are mannerist reprises of the abstract devices of spontaneity and transcendence; expressive gesture and Minimalist geometry remain precariously alive, even as they have been ingeniously assimilated. …

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