Pékin Fine Arts is pleased to host an exhibition of new paintings, by three artists of three different generations, in its Summer Group Exhibition. Mao Lizi (b. 1950 Beijing), Xie Qi (b. 1974 Chongqing), and Xu Zhenbang (b. 1990 Shenzhen).
Mao Lizi, the most well known of the three, has been continually active in China’s contemporary art scene since participating in the Post-Cultural Revolution, non- official, artist-run movement, The Stars Group, in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. After a brief stint living and working as an artist in Paris in the 1990’s, Mao Lizi returned to Beijing and set up his present studio combining his love of design and painting. More recently, Mao had a large-scale solo exhibition in Shanghai’s Duolun Museum of Modern Art in 2014, with more solo museum exhibitions planned. His paintings challenge traditional notions of landscape and its components, ignoring both oil and ink painting conventions he elevates tiny points of personal interest to monumental proportions.
Xie Qi, a Beijing based, woman artist originally from Sichuan, is exhibiting new works at the gallery for the third time, following her solo exhibition here in 2014. She is preparing her 2nd solo exhibition at Pékin Fine Arts, this time in Hong Kong, in the first half of 2015. Xie Qi’s multi-layered paintings deliberately magnify, then obscure, and finally glaringly expose her carefully chosen subjects.
Xu Zhenbang, a Cantonese artist living in Chongqing, is finishing his graduate degree at the Sichuan Fine Arts Academy. He recently exhibited in Beijing’s CAFA Museum, in The 2nd “CAFAM Future” Exhibition: The Reality Representation of Chinese Young Art”. This will be the 1st time a large body of his paintings is exhibited in Beijing. Xu’s painting style re-assembles plastic patterns as new urban topography, appropriating op-art details from construction sites, roadside detours, and electronic signals.
These three have more than an obvious technical prowess with brush and canvas in common. Despite their varied backgrounds and differing painting styles, the three artists share a similar fascination with apparently insignificant details of every day life, hyperbolized into the main “subject” of their work. By memorializing in painting that which is overlooked, the artists deliberately shift the viewers’ attention elsewhere, in little acts of self-defiance and viewer manipulation. The viewer sees the world through the prism of these paintings: What is minor becomes major, what is unseen becomes seen, what is overlooked must be revealed, and what is ignored must be recognized. It takes intellectual rigor coupled with a heightened sense of humanism to keep the focus on small matters of individual expression, amidst a myriad of distractions. Within a traditionally collective society, resistance to external social pressure and group critique is still not easy. Maintaining a practice outside the lure of the market place and its promise of quick profit and media recognition is also never easy. Rather than muse endlessly in circular debate on the artists’ social role, identity art, the need for further reform, etc etc.etc, why not recognize creative work in and of itself, as not insignificant acts of daily rebellion?