MA Kwai Shun graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1976, a M.Phil. in Fine Arts in 1991 from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and a D.F.A. (Doctor of Fine Arts) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia in 2002. For many years he has been exploring and promoting ink painting through his Art Horizon Workshop in both collaborative research and curatorial projects. He likes to integrate Chinese water-based colour printing and ink painting technique in his creative process, with emphasis on water, ink and colour.

He took part in many solo and group exhibitions including “Dialogue between Water-based Coloured Printmaking and Ink Painting”, “Second Taipei International Modern Ink Painting”, “Hong Kong Water, Ink, Colour-- Exhibition of Chinese Paintings 2009”, “Water & Ink Interpretation: Taipei Invitation Exhibition of Hong Kong Modern Ink Painting” , 2010 Hong Kong and Macau Visual Arts Exhibition in Beijing. Furthermore, he was awarded “The Prize of Ink Painting ”from the “Invited Exhibition of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan: The 9th Chinese National Art Exhibition” in 1999.


Artist Statement

Exploration of water-based colour woodcut mono prints

The exploration and production of a variety of images by the printmaking process involved the use of Chinese ink / water-based colour printed on Chinese Hsuan paper (unsized). The process is different from Western woodcut printmaking which involves oil-based colour and ink roller in the production process. By using ink roller and oil-based colour, the wood block is usually inked uniformly with a single color and multi blocks have to be used in order to achieve tonal or colour variations.
In Chinese woodblock printmaking, in relation to the inking procedure, instead of using ink roller, different sizes of brushes can be used flexibly to apply Chinese ink or water- based colour on the wood block to achieve variations in tone and colour.

Moreover, the application of water together with colour or ink on the printing block and then printed on Chinese paper also produces blending and gradation effects similar to ink painting. The absorbent nature of Chinese paper especially the unsized Hsuan paper is found to be the ideal medium for printing and is used throughout the process.

Technically, it takes time and practice to control the tonal effect and texture of printed images. By varying the proportion of water in Chinese ink or water-based colour in the printing process, forms and texture printed from wood blocks are unique in the way that they could not be produced by other printing media. It is found that the printed images of carved shapes and textures were softened in various degrees resulting in the natural blending of ink and water during the printing process. Such visual quality is also unique compared with oil-based printmaking process which often produces uniform tone with hard-edge images.

Moreover, as the printing process is not conceived independently only for the production of multiple prints, the woodblocks which include original folk printing blocks, were used more flexibly to print out images wholly or partially inked for further integration. As a result, both complete and amorphous imageries were produced in different formats by varying the inking area and tone – either fully inked or partially inked and then printed out as monoprints or later used for further development.