Any attempt to modernize tradition is an easy target for criticism and resistance. But when the course of history calls upon us to make the move, we are often than not at a loss as to where to go. Since the idea came out more than ten years ago that says, “Chinese painting has died”, the age-old Chinese art form of ink and wash on paper has arrived at a time when change is a matter of necessity instead of an option in order to survive and the question of “how to change” has been brought to the table.
As an artistic language, it was invented, commonly practiced and deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture. As a variety of cultural and ideological trends come into constant contacts and clashes in today’s China, an exceptional case of exploring contemporary life and conveying a feeling of today through this “outdated” medium reserved for portraying landscapes by tradition would no doubt be Liu Qinghe.
Liu Qinghe belonged to a group of artists that emerged in early 1990s. This generation of artists was schooled in an intolerant and languid academic system on one hand and on the other hand, they were exposed to and inundated by dramatic social, cultural and personal change brought about by the introduction of market economy into China. Like many of his peers who still have “dreams” about the future and “loss of grip” about reality, Liu Qinghe saw the need to reflect on contemporary society and daily life in his artistic practice as one way to inject life into this traditional medium. The bulk of his figurative works over the years depict everyday people, his family, his friends, and people he has invented. These people are placed in urban backdrop, engaged in contemporary relationship and fixed in modern-day ideological crisis. Their feelings of insecurity, confusion, dejection, lethargy and helplessness are apparent in his portraiture of a diverse makeup of real life characters and situations.
In his latest series of paintings that will appear at this up-coming Red Gate show entitled “Lake-Scape”, Liu Qinghe’s profound understanding of this longstanding medium and his proficiency in managing the various shades of black unfailingly shine through. He handily resorts to patches of ink, different shades of black and washed out colors to evoke the feel of an insignificant life facing up to the real world while trapped in a trance.
Sound of Wave
Ink and Wash on Paper
90 x 90 cm
The Red Gate Gallery participates in absolutesarts.com Gallery Portfolio program. View more works from the Red Gate Gallery at: http://galleries.absolutearts.com/redgategallery/.