Third Avenue Elevated, 1949
Gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 × 6 1/2 in.
IN MY MIND I KNOW WHAT I THINK BUT THAT’S ONLY BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE, 2009
10,000 $1 coins (AUD), 30 x 30 x 30 cm
Being Open and Empty, 2005
ink on paper, hanging scroll, 88 × 57 inches
A prominent example of Wang’s monumental calligraphic abstraction, this hanging scroll features powerfully inked lines that convey a vivid sense of the artist’s physical engagement with the work. The interaction of ink and ground—especially the spatters and streaks that communicate the impact and momentum of the brush—is crucial to its appreciation. The white paper is not simply the absence of ink, it is the picture “space” into which Wang’s ink structure is thrust. The title, borrowed from a phrase in the Daoist classic Zhuangzi (ca. 300 B.C.), refers to a state of enlightenment achieved through ridding one’s mind of mundane trifles. Its literal meaning, however, “protect the white” (shou bai), may also reflect Wang’s awareness of the uninked paper as a significant component of the whole.