DON ED HARDY: 2000 DRAGONS        

November 18 - January 20, 2001                

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2000 is a Year of the Dragon in the Asian zodiac. California artist Don Ed Hardy has created a 4' x 500' scroll painting of 2,000 dragons to commemorate this auspicious dawning of a new millennium. This is an expanded version of a venerable Asian tradition, specifically inspired by the Southern Sung dynasty (mid-13th century) dragon painter Ch'en Jung, whose most famous work, the Nine Dragon Scroll, is in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Asian dragon is a composite symbol of all the powerful and beneficial forces of nature, and is particularly related to water from the skies, oceans, and rivers. It is the primary embodiment of the notion of cyclical renewal and life force. Hardy has studied Asian mythology and dragon lore for over 30 years and lived, studied, and worked in Japan. A 1967 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute (which awarded him an honorary doctorate, Spring 2000), Hardy became known for developing the potential of tattooing as a sophisticated art form in the West, based on Japanese tradition. Since the late 1980s his paintings, prints, and works on paper have been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. The concept for 2000 Dragons first occurred in 1976, another dragon year (the Asian zodiac revolves in 12-year cycles). The painting was executed during the first seven months of 2000 in acrylic on a support of synthetic Tyvek material, light, strong, and archival. The images range from one-inch hieroglyphic marks based on ancient Chinese bronze dragon forms, to 30-foot-long creatures undulating among explosive clouds, waves, and rain forms. Brush work moves from explosive splashed "zen painting" to meticulous detail. Emulating classic Chinese and Japanese picture scrolls, the painting presents a journey that progresses through periods of time and weather changes. Accompanying the primary scroll are a number of individual vertical dragon paintings in the same variety of styles.