Born in Dongshan, Yilan in 1948, Huang Ming-je decided to devote his life to art after graduating from high school. He went to Taipei to study in the art studios established by art masters. However, he always had trouble overcoming the challenge of plaster cast charcoal drawing so he was rejected by art colleges. Nevertheless, Huang Ming-je still tried his own way to impress us with his polished realistic painting skill. He held his very first solo exhibition at Taiwan Provincial Museum (the National Taiwan Museum now) in 1976 and received much attention for his nativist-realistic-style oil paintings. In the same year, he went to Britain, where he often audited art courses at University of Leeds. Later he moved to the USA and his works were soon represented by an art gallery.
In 1980, Huang Ming-je returned to Taiwan and started participating in various government-organized art exhibitions to exhibit his portrait paintings featuring a decorative style. His unique artistic style – fantasized, romantic, and yet full of metaphoric images – has made him an emerging talent in various art awards, including the 35th, 36th, and 37th Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition. He was thus exempted from the qualification process. In the 1990s, Huang Ming-je’s artistic exploration experienced a transition toward semi-abstract art and abstract figures, while he also turned to the urban life as the major subject in his paintings. He is best known for his human figures which float like spirits. Sometimes they are splendid, but sometimes they are distorted and scary. Since the late-1990s, Huang Ming-je has transformed his two-dimensional practice into three-dimensional works. The large-scale artworks exhibited in the public spaces often demonstrate the abstract shapes which are efficiently simple but yet decorative, revealing the romantic urban atmosphere.
In the early 1980s, the artist developed a series of detailed figurative paintings featuring decorative Chinese elements. The work Happy New Year visualizes the traditional Chinese family values in a traditional Chinese festive style. However, the red-gown woman in the painting blends into the background. The sorrowful look on her face does not fit in the festive atmosphere, bringing some surrealistic touch to the work.
As the Taiwanese artist born in the 1990s, Huang Ming-je demonstrates another way of artistic practice. Growing up in a rural family in Yilan, he had limited access to academic art training. However, he depended on his excellent persistence and particular sensitivity to shape and form to continuously absorb the artistic expression of the Western masters. It was how he developed his own artistic potentiality. The lack of academic training also liberated him from any conventional baggage. The transition of his artistic practice after he returned to Taiwan in the 1980s perfectly proved how Huang Ming-je, as a self-taught artist, had progressed on the basis of his life experiences.
In his paintings, the human figure – figurative or abstract – has always been the motif of his artistic exploration. Sometimes, one might even notice the autobiographical touch hidden in the works. Except for the nativist realistic paintings in the 1970s, it is difficult to relate Huang Ming-je’s artworks to any trend of art during that particular period of time in Taiwan. However, in the late 1990s, the highly functional floating figures he created reached people’s hearts by revealing the fluctuating social atmosphere and the illusion-like urban life after the Lift of Martial Law. Huang Ming-je’s works indeed offer an artistic response to the contemporary society.
|English title：||Happy New Year|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1941-1950|