Painters display works awash in ink traditions

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-01-26 11:50:15

Painters display works awash in ink traditions

October, Clear River by Xu Guoliang is one of the ink paintings on display at the Beijing show, Where to Go.[Photo provided to China Daily] 

Shitao, a famous landscape painter during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), had said: "Ink and brushwork should keep pace with the times."

His words are relevant even today as generations of practitioners are seen pushing the boundaries of Chinese art to take it to a wider audience.

Where to Go, an ongoing exhibition at the Equivalence Fine Arts gallery in Beijing, has gathered 15 ink painters who communicate their thoughts on Shitao's ideas against the backdrop of a rapidly changing China.

The show's participants all studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990s. Their practice on xuanzhi (rice paper) presents a variety of ink-wash experiments.

Liang Yi, 53, from North China's Shanxi province, expresses a cynical view of social diseases.

He places nude women and luxury cars in settings of traditional Chinese landscapes or gardens. Liang adds a gold fish at the base of the paintings to imply material abundance.

Underlying the combination of these objects in his works, Liang satirizes distorted social values, especially the confusing standard of beauty, which is endorsed by many people.

Liu Yumei stresses the merging of East and West in her works.

The Frankfurt-based painter, who is in her 40s, does still-life oil paintings with a rich palette. But they encapsulate a temperament of ink painting.

She was trained in oil painting at the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Northeast China's Shenyang city and later Chinese painting at Beijing's CAFA.

Liu has been living in Germany since 1999 as a professional painter.

One of her works captures busy vendors in a bazaar along the Main River in Germany. She produced the piece based on her visits to the flea markets on its banks. In her painting, Liu makes thick, free lines with brushstrokes and carves out sharp ones with oil painting scrapers, by which she is able to present a poetic essence of the East about a Western location.

Liu also teaches Chinese painting at a Frankfurt university. She recalls her students at first telling her that Chinese painting wasn't of as much value as oil painting.

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