The taste of water

More through less, economy of means

Making due with less is not the same as simplicity, and not to be confused with hard minimalism. In painting it is the precise and least amount of brushwork that enables a deep and substantial experience for the viewer.

In a painting by the early Qing artist WEN Dian 文點 (1633-1704), a mooring of boats appears only as a series of brief lines rising from the nearer edge of the painting. This fragment suggests the pleasure of outings and the scenery of fishermen. It also is a sign of brevity and ease itself - the brushstrokes are quick and casual, far removed from the tight, architectural lines that craftsmen-artists might use for boats and other engineered structures.

WEN Dian 文點 (1633-1704)
Landscape, 1682, detail
Handscroll. Ink and colour on paper
32.5 x 314 cm
Private collection