Richard Tsao’s “Round” series monotypes of the 1990s are circles, discs of color, which do not seem fixed in the physical world. These superb monotypes take full advantage of the possibilities of transferring an oil painting onto paper. In Tsao’s paintings on canvas (many-layered works created in Tsao’s specially designed paint flood-room), the physicality of brilliantly colored paint also becomes architecture; in contrast, these “Round” works are the distillation of the spirit of color.
“Round” was inspired by Tang Dynasty Chinese bronze Mirrors. From as far back as neolithic times bronze mirrors were produced in China, usually circular disks with one side polished brightly and the reverse side with designs. The non-decorated smooth side would be polished so intensely it would give off a reflection and, over time, would have this wonderful sheen of infinite space. I saw many of these when I was in Taipei at the National Palace Museum years ago, and it inspired me to produce the “Round” series. My darker “Rounds” were very much inspired by this infinite space … and I would roll many, many, many layers of oil paint on the plate to create similar infinite space in “Round”. –Richard Tsao
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