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Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York – 24 Solar Terms at Foley Gallery

Art Scene

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York – 24 Solar Terms at Foley Gallery

Stunning large scale black and white photographs seemingly shimmering with a newfound beauty are featured in the exhibition, Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York – 24 Solar Terms. The work is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, which divides the year into 24 solar segments, grounded in the changing of seasons.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao

Waking of Insects, 2015

Archival Pigment Print

40h x 24w in

Although a few of the images include the Manhattan skyline around Central Park, it is the images that allow nature to take over the full frame that are most inspiring. Most of these images are half landscape and half a reflection of that landscape in water. Tree branches elegantly spill through the images, offering both a real sense of nature and an illusory dreamlike experience of it. Mirror images found on the surfaces of ponds and lakes take the imagination elsewhere.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao

Summer Solstice, 2015

Archival Pigment Print

66h x 40w in

Depth of field, lens flare, and long exposures all appear to be at work in the images, adding unique touches of detail, such as faint blurred raindrops, only visible with a close examination of a photograph. As lost as viewers may find themselves in the sensory pleasure of the images and a belief that they are real, they will realize as they move through the exhbition that the photographs are digitally manipulated. However, in the case of Liao’s work, the transformation of his images through his use of multiple exposures and a vertical format found in 17th century Chinese scroll paintings is sublimely executed.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao

The Autumnal Equinox, 2015

Archival Pigment Print

100h x 60w in

The construction of his images seems to work as a way to entice and enhance the sensory recall of anyone who has spent time basking in the restorative powers of nature. In the past, Liao worked with large format cameras, and a piece of that lense wisdom seems to be at play; in the case of Central Park – 24 Solar Terms, the bigger the photograph, the better. Certain works in the exhibition have a painterly feel, similar to Matisse’s impressionism, multiplicities of leaves and blooming spring trees at times feel like brushstrokes, albeit in black and white.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao

Beginning of Summer, 2015

Archival Pigment Print

66h x 40w in

An otherworldly, poetic reading of Central Park is at play in Liao’s images, creating a gently visceral experience of beauty and the majesty of nature in winter, spring, summer and fall. One image in particular, The Beginning of Summer, is a joy to look at. Blooming trees drape the shoreline in the background of the image – perhaps calling to mind white or pink blossoms. In the foreground, bubbles float through the middle of the frame above a quiet lake with leafy tree branches entering the frame’s edges. Tall grass stands alert at the bottom front of the photograph, shot from a vantage point where any New Yorker might find themselves sitting on a summer afternoon.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York – 24 Solar Terms at Foley Gallery is on view through October 15, 2017.