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Abstraction And Realism Painting Art - Contemporary Shanghai Style Masters Duo Exhibition Series

By OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos

Oh Good Party

Because a great artist is responding to the issues of his time, we place the greatest emphasis when collecting an artist's work on the pieces that are most obviously of his time.

"Painting the spirit through the object and painting oneself through nature are important aspects of being an artist. The manifestation of life is creation. The mountain on the sea is what I think of as the reef. They have an independent, unrestrained perseverance and stubbornness even though there aren't any trees or flowers around to accompany them. It is comparable to a life in the wind and rain, where the waves soften the angles that were previously sharp and make them rounded, hiding the bones within." Zhang Leiping, a painter, introduces herself.


The spirit of "metamorphosis" at the opening ceremony of the "Contemporary Shanghai Style Masters Duo Exhibition Series - Zhang Leiping and He Xi" is captured by Zhang Leiping's free-flowing brush and ink, which are regal and yet embellished. The imagery that follows the object is what shocks us, not the object itself. In contrast to Z'hang's style, He Xi's works feature a solemn and mournful figurative image, including the pale sea, the quiet earth, the barren volcano, the gliding giant eagle, and the walking skeleton. The viewer will experience the heaven and earth, the mountains and rivers, the insignificance of people, and the transience of life in front of these paintings.


Undoubtedly, He Xi's paintings draw inspiration from the Japanese ukiyo-e art form of the Edo period, while also incorporating elements of Chinese brushwork realism and emotional resonance. However, the works of Zhang Leiping remind us of the group of ink and colour painters, represented by Wu Guanzhong since the 1970s, who used Chinese ink and brushwork to reconstruct natural landscapes and interpret Western theories of formal beauty. These masters realised the integration of Chinese and Western painting art as they searched for the "East" and the "West," absorbing the essence of modern painting and image-based art in the process.


In fact, landscape painting has consistently demonstrated an artistic creation process from "realism to abstraction" and from "watercolour to ink" in the development of ideas and painting forms. The "realistic" stage of ancient landscape painting was during the Sui and Tang dynasties, the "transformative" stage was during the Five Dynasties and Song dynasties, and the "abstract" spirit reached its pinnacle during the Yuan dynasty. The traditional Chinese philosophical and religious beliefs played a significant role in the development of the concept of realism in Chinese painting.The Chinese intellectual elite all see the universe as an organic whole of life that is continuously alive, ever-changing, and has an inner connection, largely based on Laozi's "Man follows the laws of the earth, the earth follows the laws of the sky, the sky follows the laws of the Tao, and the Tao follows the laws of nature." and Zhuangzi's "Heaven and earth are born with me, and everything is one with me." By considering the universe as a dynamic, ever-changing, and intrinsically connected organic whole, we are able to comprehend and create the beauty of the interconnectedness of all things in heaven and on earth.


This is the "Tao" that Chinese painters are pursuing in their works.


"Tao" is the essence of the universe, and "beauty" in paintings can only be produced when the universal essence of all life is combined with human spirituality, or when the external record and the internal mind are connected. Whether something is from the East or the West, as long as it is "beautiful," it can touch the heart.


Contemporary painting is only one of the manifestations of contemporary art. Contemporary art refers to art of the "contemporary period" as well as art with "contemporary consciousness" or "contemporary forms". The artist's ideas and opinions are expressed through a variety of artistic experiments and forms. It is an art that is global, diverse, cultural, socially engaged and technologically relevant.


Throughout the last two centuries, starting with Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Edvard Munch, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Wu Guanzhong, Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp, David Hockney, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, etc., all sublimated the "spiritual dimension" of art with the "flow of forms and movement of images".


The "moving image" is an important identification of the times in contemporary art.


Because a great artist is responding to the issues of his time, we place the greatest emphasis when collecting an artist's work on the pieces that are most obviously of his time.


For instance, Wu Guanzhong is regarded by the international art community as one of the leading exponents of modern Chinese painting in the 20th century, and his creations serve as a crucial link between China and the West in terms of contemporary art. His early paintings were realistic, but later he was influenced by American artist Jackson Pollock's "abstraction," abandoning Western light and shadow in pursuit of Chinese art's development and improvement while putting all of his attention into the composition of point, line, and surface in the manner of Chinese ink and wash. Wu Guanzhong's dot, line, and surface composition tends to be more rational in expression than Pollock's abstract expressionism. Particularly, the formal beauty in his later works delves into the most profound levels of traditional Chinese aesthetics, where abstraction trumps figuration and chaos carries rhythm's direction with a strong, refined force. Pen and ink hold interest, and the vainness of the mind resembles a valley. Collectors simply adore the works of Wu Guanzhong from this era.


Wu Guanzhong produced his paintings at a time when the modernist movement was sweeping the globe and the Western modern abstraction trend was in full swing. His various artistic phases offer a response to the times' shifting conditions because an artist is typically the most perspicacious individual in a society.


Artist He Xi informed us in the exhibit, "Due to the widespread epidemic and anxiety, I have become more focused on the ultimate reflection of my past, present, and future since the year 2020. Since I am pessimistic, I will let my works gaze into the abyss within while focusing more on the worth and life outside of things. This piece has the title "Mountain-Water," but unlike previous landscapes, I've also painted the sea to look like a mountain in this piece."

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