Harmony is a celebration of Peng Jian’s most recent works, where everyday objects are presented as metaphors for his artistic ideas and feelings. In search of a higher aesthetic that goes beyond traditional visual representation and verging on the abstract, he invites his audience to find hidden meaning in his linear compositions, and to witness the rapport between the lines and colours in an almost meditative approach.
Peng Jian’s background in traditional Chinese painting is deeply inherent in his use of jiehua, or ruled-line ink painting that originated in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Using a specially-designed Chinese brush and ruler, it allows the artist to draw consistently-straight lines. As a technique, jiehua is not only a throwback to artistic traditions of the past, but also affords the artist the geometric accuracy and architectural precision central to his paintings, forming the basis of all his works. The strategically-placed lines and geometric forms create a spatial harmony that is further highlighted by his skillful application of ink and choice of primary colours, used to represent objects that appear to exist between representation and abstraction. These include Rubik’s cubes, building blocks and books, juxtaposed against each other in a mathematical grid-like composition. They recall the works of early 20th century modernists, Mondrian and Malevich, pioneers of the art movements of Neoplasticism and Suprematism, who sought new forms of non-narrative artistic expressions through a reduction of form and colour, elevating geometric shapes to a whole new level.
In this manner, the artistic feeling evoked is given more weight than the actual visual depiction. Proportion, perspective and visual accuracy become secondary to the harmony that is conveyed – the key to understanding Peng Jian’s works. For instance, the objects in “Open Door” (2019) and the “Inside Out” series (2019) establish a rapport with each other and co-exist together in harmony. There can be no discord between them; chaos and disorder would only occur if one of them were removed. Renowned art critic, Barbara Pollack, comments that the best way to "read" a Peng Jian painting would be to imagine any one of its elements being moved. Only then would the viewer realize the importance that each plays in creating balance, bringing into mind the Buddhist saying: “Seeing mountains as mountains and seeing mountains not as mountains”