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Indepth Arts News:

"Insight: Paintings by Qiu Shihua"
2005-04-15 until 2005-05-28
Chambers Fine Art
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on April 14th of Insight: Paintings by Qiu Shihua. Although widely exhibited in Hong Kong and Europe, this is the first major exhibition of Qiu Shihua's work in the United States. Qiu Shihua is older than the talented group of artists who first began to emerge in the mid-1980s. He was born in Sichuan in 1940 and graduated from the Xi’an Academy of Art in 1962. His career as an artist was cut short, however, by the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and it was not until 1984 that he was able to move to Shenzhen where he is still based.

Unlike the younger generation of artists who have for the most part turned their back on oil painting, Qiu Shihua found his initial inspiration in the French Impressionists whose work he saw in person for the first time in the mid-1980s. In 1989, however, a profound change occurred. As John Tancock has observed: "After years of painting in his spare time, he decided to give up his job and abandon the comforts of a bourgeois lifestyle. Since he was a child living in the provinces he had been familiar with the concepts of Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism but had not delved too deeply into any of them. Once he had made the decision to become a serious practitioner of Daoism, his painting style changed completely, losing its moorings in the real world and soaring into a more rarefied atmosphere".

During the last twenty years Qiu Shihua's style has evolved gradually from the earthbound to the immaterial, from misty landscapes based on memories of his childhood in north-west China to the rarefied atmosphere of his most recent works. Like the black paintings of Ad Reinhardt or some of the more compelling works of James Turrell, Qiu Shihua's mystical paintings require time and patience for the subtle adjustments in tone to register. As he has said: "Everything is flat and calm. ‘Form’ is unimportant.  It is like being in meditation, when the entire cosmos looks like a white mist.  Here, time and space seem to be annihilated.  Human passions do not matter."

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