Tian Liming (田黎明, male, born in May 3rd 1955, Beijing) is from Heifei city of the Anhui province and was in charge of ranks, a cultural assistant administrator, and professional creative commissioner after having enlisted in the military in 1971.
He was trained at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts from 1982 and remained at the institution after 1984 as a member of staff of the School of Chinese Painting. In 1989, he enrolled as a graduate student under professor Lu Chen (卢沉) at the School of Chinese Painting and received the Master’s degree of Arts in 1991. Since then, he held the post of the Vice-Dean of the School of Chinese Painting until he became the Dean in 2002. From 1995 till 2008, Tian Liming served as a Director of the Chinese Academy of Arts (中國畵學院), was appointed a Vice Director of China National Academy of Painting (國家畵院) in 2009, and is currently a Vice Director of Chinese National Academy of Arts (中國藝術硏究院). He is also a council member of the Chinese Artists’ Association, committee member of the Art Committee of Chinese Painting, Vice Chairman of the Beijing Artists’ Association, professor and tutor of graduate studies in the Chinese Traditional Painting School in the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and Vice Dean of the National Academy of Painting. In 2008, Tian Liming was invited to receive the title of an honorary professorship from the St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
Regular themes that feature in his works include: “Countryside”, “City”, “Swimmers under the sunlight”, “Tibet”, “Virtuous Scholar”, “Landscape”, “Flowers and Birds”, “Creative Theme”, “Sketch” etc. Amongst them, he won a prize at the 6th Fine Art Exhibition for his ink painting Stele Gorves and was awarded the first prize for his work Brook at the 1988 International Chinese Traditional Paintings Exhibition, and submitted Swimmers under the sunlight, Sunflowers and others at the Critics’ Nomination Chinese Painting Exhibition in 1993. Thunder Pike (雷鋒) was submitted for the 80th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China Arts Exhibition held in 1994 and Sunlight of Tibet and Pass into the City (進城) were subsequently submitted at the 2nd and 3rd Beijing International Art Biennale. He has published several art books under the titles of Tian Liming Art Works (Youngbojae Plc), Tian Liming Art Works (Gwangseo Art Plc), Complete Works of Tian Liming (Youngbojae Plc), Contemporary Rising Literati Painting Series · Art Works of Tian Liming (Hebei Education Publishing House) etc., and a collection of literary works; Entering into the sunlight, Opportunities and objects are like water and more.
The Chinese traditional cultural spirit was rejuvenated during the 30 years of the Chinese economic reform and opened up new opportunities for artistic expression. Within this context of history, the particular period taught various ways of how Chinese ink painting language could be modernized during its succession process. And this new background helped to encourage Tian Lim-ing’s artistic experiences and aesthetic values. In doing so, he successfully managed to adapt the traditional cultural notions to suit the modern-day cultural environment by basing his works upon “Human” and naturally cultivating the “Way (道)”. From his experience of the very essence of the traditional culture, Tian Liming manages to bring together aesthetic ideals of ‘nurturing of the urban’ ‘harmonization’ with the Confucius philosophy of life in his works, thereby creating an aesthetic value that seeks ordinary everyday existences and natural innocence. His fundamental law of creation is based on the harmonization of human and nature. And for several years, whilst practicing the creation of works of art, he gradually researched and formatted articulating methods of Chinese ink painting which are Rongran-Fu (融染法: Dyeing and Painting method), Lianti-Fu (连体法: Re-primming method), and Weimo-Fu (围墨法: Confining method). These methods, based on the Mogu-Fa (沒骨法) painting technique in traditional Chinese painting, allowed Tian Liming to accomplish greater advancement and integrity in his work. And it is through his endeavouring effort to systematically extend and develop the Mogu technique, that the traditional ink wash expression still manages to enjoy its vitality and vivacity. His unique artistic language of ‘harmony of nature and human’ delivers humanistic values and ethos of nature, society, the spiritual realm of human and the spirit of the age through experience that ultimately seeks for a balanced pursuit of life. At the same time, the expressive play of light through his use of brush and ink equipped with innovate touches of color and light stipulates prudent sensibility and serene tranquility of the quintessential Eastern aesthetic ideals. In doing so, Tian Liming’s style of art manages to preserve the traditional intentions of the brush and ink of Chinese painting and pioneers the next direction of Chinese painting for the new age.
Many of his works fully grasp and contain the truth of moderation, peacefulness and the beauty of charitable compassion. And his work resonates his growing sense of responsibility of life (the common people), experiences and inspirations from truth, good, and beauty, which have trans-formed into a theme of ‘Light, air, and water’ that have attained the acme of artistic serenity of Chinese culture.
He has established a serene artistic style through his pursuit of skills and techniques thereby attaining the sublimation of artistic achievement and contributed to the ethos and convention of ink painting. Tian Liming is a ‘scholastic’ artist equipped with boldness, a constantly enquiring mind, and creativity. He certainly has opened a new horizon for Chinese ink figure painting through his conscious cultural way of thinking, creation and practice of innovative art. And in the process, he has not only taken a significant step forward on the path of revolution for Chinese ink painting, but also devoted himself in seeking evolution and development which results in an aesthetic value that encompasses all time.