MARBLE LANDSCAPE Painting- Installation

American Cultural Center Taipei- Taiwan November, 1995.


Marble Landscape: A Painting Installation by Ricardo Woo


MARBLE LANDSCAPE Painting- Installation

American Cultural Center Taipei- Taiwan November, 1995.


O melhor cheiro está na surpresa, no repente do imprevisível, viver…

            Existe algo grande no mistério que é totalmente comum e universal, ser…

            Milhões de sacrifícios diários são necessários para o produto da vida, sobreviver

            A obra de arte é como um ser humano, um ser vivo que precisa viver, ser, e sobeviver. Em arte, o momento vivido e a noção da presença física e espiritual são fundamentais. No processo artístico são necessários: o fênomeno ser, e o fênomeno sobreviver.

            A experiência estética gerada num inesperado olhar produz o pensar. No estranho e familiar estímulo resido o fênomeno “viver.”

            O pensamento encontra sentido filosófico no inexplicável, somado ao produto histórico da arte, fazem com que o objeto de arte iniciado no pensar conclua sua existência no olhar. Nisto reside o fênomeno ser

            A criação artística é o produto do conflito das liberdades. Algo é encontrado no processo de intersecção, olhar e pensar, pensar e olhar. Está é a margem dedicada ao fênomeno sobreviver

Ricardo Chinluon Woo

New York, October 1995


Text a collaboration by Silvia Meira, Carlos Rezende and David Schell.

Installation is a term normally associated with conceptual art which is less about aesthetic appearance as in landscape painting and more about an idea and the way the idea is expressed. Marble is the traditional material of western sculpture, and landscape the traditional theme of Chinese painting. In Marble Landscape, Ricardo Woo has created a unique place where seemingly antipodal elements come together and complement each other. It’s a meeting ground for Eastern and Western cultural expression, and conceptual and representational approach to art.

            Marble Landscape is an installation comprised of three series of acrylic paintings: Ivory Dark, Marble Wood, Milk Heaven. The first group, Ivory Dark, is a series of 12 canvases mounted horizontally and perceived as a long rectangular band. The second group, Marble Wood, is arranged the same as the first but with 10 canvases. The third group, Milk Heaven, is a series of nine vertical panels whose shape and placement suggests Chinese scrolls from the T’san Period.

            Carlos Rezende, a Brazilian artist and contemporary of Mr. Woo’s observes that there are differences of emphasis in Chinese and European landscape painting. In traditional Western landscape painting, perspective is the guiding design element; in traditional Chinese landscape painting the emphasis is on time. A Chinese painting is arrangement of temporal elements separated by intervals of negative or infinite space. Mr. Rezende appreciates how these notions of time and space are addressed in Marble Landscape. The individual paintings of the installation are composed of long horizontal bands of different color, creating the impression of immeasurable space making time seem obsolete.

            The bands of color give the paintings the appearance of abstract landscape, but in the blink of an eye these same bands of color are transformed and the paintings look like finely polished slabs of beautiful marble. This illusion is fascinating. Ricardo Woo identifies with the historic importance as well as the physical appearance of marble. Ancient Greek sculptors used for their finest work Parian marble and marble of Pentelicus. Marble was the stone of the Renaissance so masterfully carved by Michelangelo. In more recent times, we see it in the work of Rodin. In Western art, marble has gained the status of the noble stone. It is a stone of great beauty, the finest being quarried at Carrara in Italy. Mr. Woo’s respect for marble is evident in the adeptness with which he captures it in acrylic medium.

            Silvia Meira, a historian in Brazilian contemporary art, note “As we enter age of global society, a desire is present in of a growing number of contemporary artist to inhabit different conceptions of culture existing around the world.” Ricardo Woo is himself a product of a cross-cultural and cross- disciplinary mix. The son of Chinese father and Japanese mother, he was born and raised in Brazil, where he studied both architecture and fine art. In his career, he was crossed over into different artistic genres including narrative and expressionist painting, as well as performance and conceptual art.

            Marble Landscape is especially worthy of your attention because of the expressive freedom, the appreciation of process and personal experience Mr. Woo brings to his work. His inventiveness with acrylic medium and his eagerness to use the tools of his background, education and experience in yet unimagined ways has led Mr. Woo into new territory. As a result, you view this installation as if you are experiencing previously unhear idiom, but one recognizable as stemming from Mr. Woo’s unique grammar, and it is surprisingly accessible to lovers to either narrative, conceptual, Eastern, or Western art.

            About Mr. Woo, Silvia Meira observes, “Since the artist moved to New York, his painting has become more abstract and shows a strong interest in texture, light, substance, and material, and the process of execution and the communication of that process is of primary importance to him.”

            Marble Landscape as installation is a testimony to the complexity of the act of painting. Mr. Woo says, “It is important to accept and encourage tension in the artistic process. A work of art is successful when the system or method used to produce it contains errors, conflicts and contractions.” Indeed, walking through the installation, you realize you are following a visual narrative, each painting revealing more about Ricardo Woo’s acrylic exploration. You want to travel with him farther and farther into the Marble Landscape. 


Silvia Meira, Ph.D., University Paris Sorbonne, Curator of São Paulo Art Museum- MASP.

Carlos Rezende is a Brazilian artist living in São Paulo.

David Schell is an American artist living in New York.