Chinese crossover artist Simon Ma's new world tour exhibition "Heart Water Ink" will go on view at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, July 12 to Oct. 19, 2014. While Ma has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, MOCA Shanghai, Amsterdam's Leslie Smith Gallery, Three on the Bund in Hong Kong, Taiwan's Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and more, this exhibition marks his American museum debut.
"Heart • Water • Ink" features more than 70 artworks including Ma’s paintings, freehand brushwork, Chinese ink hybrids, graffiti art, Chinese calligraphy sculptures, dimensional stroke and lacquer paintings, 3-D art video, projections, Murano glass, and large-scale dragon and horse sculptures.
As part of the Miami leg of this world tour, Ma will present a seminar about Chinese water ink that will be open to the public and to students at Florida International University. The exhibition also will feature an equine-themed short film “China Dream,” an homage to Master Xu Beihong (broadcast on National Geographic and Discovery) and an equine-themed jewelry collection co-created with Chow Tai Fook.
The spirit of the horse inspires this exhibition. In Chinese, the name Ma means horse and the year 2014 marks the Chinese year of the horse.
The main masterpiece of the show is the large-scale sculpture
“Ren Ma” (Benevolent Horse).
Internationally renowned as a 21st century inheritor of the ancient traditions, Simon Ma looks up to the experience of the Chinese Master Xu Beihong and follows in his footsteps by creating an exhibition that unites the past and the present.
Different materials from nature reflect various personalities and characteristics of Simon's horses. Inspired by Xu’s artistic notion of the benevolent horse, large-scale horse sculptures modeled after the Chinese character of horse (馬) will anchor this exhibition.
Benevolence is a central theme for Ma’s show, via the Confucian concept of Rén (仁), a virtue denoting mutual respect, help and love among mankind.
The exhibition’s theme is the artist’s new principle of "Rén Ma" (a kindhearted creature showing the benevolence of the horse and of nature, encouraging mankind to learn this quality).
“The horse is loyal and brave, diligent and determined, humble and kind-hearted,” says Simon Ma. “The benevolent horse will bring back to people the spiritual strength and energy they have been losing. As water moistens and seeps into things, “Ren Ma” will gently enter people’s hearts and purify every man.”
For centuries, Chinese artists have used ink and calligraphy to connect to the worlds of tradition, poetry, ritual, emotions and intellect. Ma uses these traditions boldly in his unique creative process for his drawings, paintings, sculpture and design, and extending beyond - to his passion for music.
“I want to show that in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is still possible to possess a pure spirit and to seek a balance point from which to conduct our lives,” adds Ma. “Heart becomes a new way of creation, from the deepest part of the soul. Brush is a companion, and Ink becomes the language that the Heart communicates to harmonize people and their essence. When Heart comes together with the Chinese Qi and spirit, the artist can reach the perfect condition for his creation.” “Through my horses, I hope viewers will experience the beauty, courage and strength of the Chinese people. My new world tour is greatly inspired by the late Chinese Master Xu Beihong, who is remembered for creating new national art by combining nature and realism, uniting traditional Chinese with Western painting styles,” said Ma.
“The Frost Art Museum is proud to welcome the gifted artist Simon Ma and his extraordinary work to their American museum debut,” adds Dr. Carol Damian. “As a product of China’s remarkable economic and political transformation, Ma openly appropriates, adapts, and re-invents himself - while maintaining respect for his rich cultural heritage. His contemporary works employ the same dynamic and emotionally charged process in the Chinese traditional ritualistic and complex application of ink and paint.”