My work combines the formalist elements of Chinese traditional painting with an eclectic array of eastern and western traditions. In this exhibition, three bodies of work explore cultural intersections using techniques from across the span of Chinese aesthetic traditions.
Traditional Chinese fine brushwork paintings highlight the use of small brushes and delicate lines to outline objects, and I then overlay the result with layers of traditional Chinese ink. This art form stresses realism to transcend the subject’s spirit. In these works, I augment traditional painting techniques with colors drawn from the hyper-realistic palettes of Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and fellow Fauvists. This juxtaposition allows me to draw attention to the nuances of natural and human-constructed subjects, and illustrate how notions of the decorative have changed over time.
In “heavy color paintings,” I work with Chinese traditional paintbrushes and Xuan paper, adding the warmth of oil painting and post-Impressionistic abstraction techniques within the vein of Henri Rousseau and the more contemporary David Hockney. In these works, the formalism of Chinese painting exposes how realism relies on specific aesthetic conventions, which are neither universal nor static.
Tibetan Buddhist religious painting is a form with a strong association with the decorative. In these works, vivid colors and an abundance of content help move the eye through the precise details derived from traditional thangka techniques. - Dr. Jingtao Liu