NEW LONDON — In the India ink paintings of Marian “Bing” Bingham, the constant practice of brushstrokes reflects centuries of tradition and reinforces her creation of personal works, modern and ancient.
“I think the wonderful thing about Chinese painting is that you study – you look at the bamboo and you absorb the way it grows – and then you paint it,” she said. “You don’t have it in front of you – you do it from the practice of the shot and just more from the feeling of how it grows.”
Bingham, a former longtime resident of Connecticut, spoke at a rally for her show, “The Indian Ink Art of Marian Bingham,” in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room at the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College, Thursday.
Born in Oakland, California in 1940, Bingham studied Chinese painting in China and the Philippines before earning her BA from Connecticut College in 1991 and her MFA from Wesleyan University in 1995.
While at Connecticut College, she studied with Charles Chu, a master artist and professor emeritus at Connecticut College, who became one of her mentors,
Chu’s home is where Bingham painted “Flying Horse,” a striking piece from the show that will be part of the Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection at the college, said Professor Yibing Huang, associate professor of Chinese and curator of the collection.
In the show, Bingham also pays tribute to his first teacher – his father, Woodbridge Bingham, who was a professor of East Asian history at UC Berkeley and founder of the Institute for Asian Studies. East Asia.
She said her father visited China in the 1920s and her parents lived there in the 1930s, which later influenced her deep interest in Chinese art.
“They brought back a lot of furniture from the 1930s, so I grew up with tables and chairs and certainly rugs. I remember when I was a little kid we would put on music and dance around the patterns of Chinese rugs – and it was things like that that really ingrained an appreciation for Chinese art,” Bingham said. .
“There was always a scroll on the stairs – they had collected scrolls and my mum would put them out sometimes,” she said. “Those things were there, making you realize how important it is when you grow up – what you see, touch and live with when you’re little and how that fits into your personality.”
Another piece in the show, “Black Bird”, was created by Bingham when she was in her twenties while studying with her third important teacher, I-Hsiung Ju, a diaspora artist who later taught at the University of Washington and Lee.
Professor Huang said Bingham’s exhibition was a great juxtaposition to Yang Mansheng’s ‘Silk Road to Hudson River’, shown in the same space in 2020 – and two other previous exhibitions: ‘400 Miles of the Connecticut River” by Charles Chu in 2019 and the 2017 exhibition, “Wang Chi-Yuan and His Generation: Chinese Artists in America 1941-2015”.
Huang said Bingham’s work demonstrates that an American artist can create Chinese art and reflects the strong connection between East and West.
“When people say there is always a line between East and West, I say there is no line. There are only bridges, roads and paths” , did he declare.
“The Indian Ink Art of Marian Bingham” can be viewed in the Charles E. Shain Library Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room through June 15.
“Locations: Recent Work by Marian Bingham” is on view at the Lyman Allyn Museum until April 10.