Wilson Shieh: Music Families
Portfolio of 4 edition prints
Edition of 25. Ukiyo-e style wood block and screen print on Echizen paper 67.3cm x 48.3cm; 26.50 x 19.00 in
Music Families Wilson Shieh / Singapore Tyler Print Institute 2009
Swinging into 2009 on a ‘high note’, STPI’s new exhibition, Wilson Shieh’s Music Families springs to life in a symphony of vibrant colours in his portrayals of human figures as delicate instruments of music. This body of work revives ukiyo-e practice in Shieh’s contemporary subject matter and employs STPI’s printmaking expertise – making this collaboration, a feat of technical virtuosity.
Shieh paints in 17th century Ming Dynasty Gongbi style, a technique of super fine and controlled brushstrokes acquired while studying Masters of Fine Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong that later applied to his contemporary themes. STPI Chief Printer, Eitaro Ogawa found Shieh’s meticulous brushwork and humour similar to ukiyo-e. “I found a unified spirit in Shieh’s art and ukiyo-e, he spends considerable time and concentration to draw the line just like it takes to carve a precise line in a ukiyo-e woodblock,” says Ogawa.
Ukiyo-e historical associations with sensuality underline Shieh’s carefully arranged bare figures resembling musical instruments. The Music Families series conveys the physical and spiritual process of music making. The characters quirky acts–––men contorting into lutes, violins, double basses and harps, women plucking serenely at delicate musical strings, and children in whimsical hosiery playing mini cymbals and drums–––elicit curiosity and mesmerise like musical oeuvres.