August 25- 27
Harbourfront Centre

Overlooking Mt. Jade

1. Umbrella Figures

2. Electric Utility Pole and Mount Ali

3. Countryside

4. Jade Mountain

5. Ouyang Wen

6. Thick Paint

7. A Flying Bird

Overlooking Mt. Jade

The thick pigment overflowing from the paint tubes is dotted into a grassy slope, rubbed and swirled into a bushy grove of trees. The lines were leaping around in the foreground, seemingly lively and vibrant. But if you look up in the distance, you will see Jade Mountain and an eagle drifting across the sky. The white snow-capped summit reflects the deep and faraway atmosphere. 

From the outskirts of Chiayi gazing up on the mountain, Chen Cheng-po carefully expressed his impressions of the sceneries of the two worlds and arranged the magnitude and vastness of what he saw before his eyes into an exquisite art piece.

1. Umbrella Figures

Although the simple brushes and lines are blurred, if you are familiar with Chen Cheng-po’s landscape paintings, you will naturally assume that these are the figures he usually places in the scene, that is, women holding parasols, to give this painting a bit of southern vibe.

2. Electric Utility Pole and Mount Ali

Wooden utility poles are densely installed in the grass-green field, and one of them appears obliquely in the center of the picture, which is quite noticeable. During the Japanese colonial era, the government brought in willow cedars from the mainland China and carried out afforestation in the Mount Ali area where the painting is set. The straight tree shape of the willow cedar also became the material for the subsequent manufacture of many power poles in Taiwan.

3. Countryside

In 1926, Chen Cheng-po’s painting “Outside Chiayi Street”, which was accepted for the Imperial Exhibition, was based on the landscape of the border area between the city and the suburbs. This painting was probably created with a similar concept. In the painting, power poles and concrete walls are set up amidst a vast expanse of natural vegetation, illustrating that the forces of modern civilization are gradually expanding into the urban periphery.

4. Jade Mountain

Among Chen Cheng-po’s surviving works, this may be the earliest complete depiction of a snow-capped Jade Mountain. It is a shared life experience for folks living in Chiayi to watch the beautiful snow on Jade Mountain from afar. The same visual impression of Chen Cheng-po is also highlighted in this painting that introduces the landscape of his hometown.

5. Ouyang Wen

It is said that Chen Cheng-po gave away this early oil painting to a fellow artist under his tutelage, Ouyang Wen. In 1950, Ouyang Wen was falsely accused and imprisoned during the White Terror. The painting was then taken away by the military and later dumped on the street. Fortunately, Mrs. Lin Tsui-hsia (林翠霞), Mr. Ouyang’s wife, recovered it and preserved it properly so that it can be passed on to the public.

6. Thick Paint

Chen Cheng-po uses thick layers of oil paints to depict bushes, people and power poles, so that everything in the foreground becomes three-dimensional. This so-called Impasto painting technique is also reminiscent of Van Gogh that Chen Cheng-po admired. The same technique can be seen in many of the works of these two painters, which vividly show the brush’s twist and turn of the lines. 

7. A Flying Bird

The bird, outlined in simple brushstrokes, glides across the emerald green sky. Its silhouette is deep and dark, simply perfect for the snowy white of the distant Jade Mountain. In his landscape paintings with an open view, Chen Cheng-po occasionally arranges birds in the distance as an illusion of a distant and silent space.

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TAIWANfest Toronto is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.