The Art of Sumi: Tradition and Beyond

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Sumi painter Angie Dixon explores nature and animals through the sumi painting medium, on display at the Kirkland Public Library. View open hours.

Featured Artist

  • Angie Dixon, Sumi Painter

More Information about The Art of Sumi: Tradition and Beyond

Artist’s Statement

This body of work represents several decades of my painting using sumi (Asian ink) on rice paper in both the traditional and contemporary language of art. Sumi Painting, also called Asian Brush and Ink Painting, has its origins in the Tang Dynasty of China and spread from there to Japan and Korea. It came from the Taoist Tradition and has also been used in the Buddhist Tradition for meditative practice and became a form of painting done by scholars in Asian societies as part of their formal training. In the contemporary art world, it can be used to express any idea or image an artist chooses. I love nature and have worked with it as my inspiration for all my art. Sumi Painting uses both the ink and with color and white space of the paper to express an essence of what is being portrayed. It takes the viewer out of a particular time and place to a timeless place and gives dignity to its subjects. They are not particular portraits. It is a medium to reach the unfathomable core that is within us all and makes us who we are in our greatest selves. In my art, I use the brush and ink to convey that inner dignity and essence that is in every animal, person or landscape or sometimes to just express the calligraphic brush energy that is like a dance across the rice paper. My interest is in the freshness and vital energy of the brushstrokes and taking the viewer outside himself or herself to a timeless place and to see the essential connection we have with every other living being. I was trained in the Asian tradition of sumi painting as well as have explored the use of sumi in contemporary art language and imagery pursuing my own thematic interests. I wanted to move sumi painting into the 20th-21st centuries as a contemporary art form that can be done by anyone in any country and give my chosen subject matter of nature freshness and dignity. These works show the tradition and contemporary use of sumi and express something beyond the actual images to take the viewer into a new way of seeing the world.

About the Artist

Angie Dixon graduated from the University of Washington in 1976 where she studied sumi painting with George Tsutakawa and visiting Japanese painters and calligraphers. She went on to graduate studies in the People’s Republic of China at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art in 1984. Her art has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States and Japan. Nature is the inspiration for her work, from traditional brush and ink to the contemporary. She has pioneered using sumi in modern art language with traditional brushwork at its core as well as continued her work and teaching in the classical Asian brush and ink painting form. Her artwork may be seen on her website: and at the Rob Schouten Gallery on Whidbey Island as well as on their website, Angie also teaches at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle.

Artwork: Two Horses

All artwork displayed at the Kirkland Public Library Satellite Exhibition is for sale as marked by the Kirkland Arts Center.