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Incorporating Sadrene Smith Fine Art spacer Artist: Paul Ching-Bor spacer top panel
square Paul Ching Bor - Twilight Complexion I, Watercolour on Arches Paper,  22.5 x 30 inches square
Paul Ching Bor - Departing Waterloo II, watercolour square Paul Ching Bor - Departing Waterloo III, watercolour
Paul Ching Bor - Yarra Nocturn I, Watercolour square Paul Ching Bor - Yarra Nocturn II, Watercolour

About the Artist

Watercolor more than any other medium is marked by a long established tradition. Making the medium "behave" has been an often quoted tenet - those painters who rank on most lists of historicaIly important practitioners of the art have been anything but traditionalists.

The power of John Marin's work, for example, is drawn from the kind of risk-taking which has moved generations of artists to accept alternative solutions.

Paul Ching-Bor has taken and pushed the watercolor medium through a century of powerful influences, including abstract expressionism. What emerges is a totally fresh approach, a watercolor painting which rivals in vision, form and execution any work on paper done since the 1950s.

At first glance Bor's paintings present a barrage of intense brush work recalling on one level the bold angular gestures of Franz Kline yet on another, the dark and mysterious images associated with the block prints of the German Expressionists.

Yet while art historical references can be seen - Paul Ching-Bor is an original. Drawing principally upon such linear structures as bridges and other constructivist - like subjects, the paintings reveal a content that surely extends well beyond "realist" tradition.

Ultimately the true content of Bor's work is the process of painting itself. This is an art about art. This is an art which underscores the fact that great and endearing art contains a magic which Kandinsky once referred to as "the spiritual".

The fact that Paul Ching-Bor is of Chinese heritage and education at first glance does not seem to be a factor in the work. I do not see the "East meets West" character that one might find in the ethereal and romantic works of the legendary master Chen Chi who finds strength in balancing East-West traditions.

If Bor's work pays any homage at all to the land of his birth it is in his understanding of the seductivenes of paper and how the fluid personality of the medium of watercolor must be accommodated.

Bor is an expressionist who looks back at a century of painterly painting and approaches it with a freshness that stops us in our tracks. This is Kirchner as he might have been at century's end. This is a young painter's response to the final chapter of the 20th century and perhaps what Kirchner and his circle confronted at the close the 19th century. Essentially both stood up and proclaimed that "vision" is not only about optical focus -it is about
the focus of the heart as well.

Louis A. Zona
The Butler Institute of American Art

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