East Bay Express: CRITIC'S CHOICE OF THE WEEK -- By DeWitt Cheng

July 23-29, 2008 (eastbayexpress.com)

Picto-Calligraphy & Sculpt-Script: Symphony of Chinese Calligraphy & Sculpture

Drawing, according to the French neoclassicist J.A.D. Ingres, is "the hard, wiry line of rectitude" underlying all great art. In Chinese painting, calligraphy links both the poetry that artist-sages admired, and their deeply felt aesthetic/kinesthetic responses. In this two-man show at the AlamedaMuseum, two China-born Californians update tradition with modernist ideas of free expression. In his Picto-Calligraphy series, Mei Chu Chang, a retired teacher and a renowned calligraphy expert, treats the ideograms as personages -- Shang Dynasty oracle bones meet Paul Klee -- rather than symbols. He also adds marbleized ink textures instead of perfectly executed trees and mountains and plays elegantly with other conventions. Feng Jin, who helped create the famous Tiananmen Square Goddess of Democracy, studies calligraphy with Chang, and creates three-dimensional abstract works in dialogue with the material -- polished or patinated stainless steel, in the Sculpt-Script series; they're 3D brushstrokes à la de Kooning made palpable. Through July 30 at AlamedaMuseum (2324 Alameda Ave., Alameda).510-522-1076.

-- By DeWitt Cheng

Time & Date: July 3-30
Alameda Museum
2324 Alameda Ave.
Alameda CA 94501

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