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May 3, 2011

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Flowers bloom with deeper meaning

FLOWERS are common subjects in traditional Chinese ink-wash painting, as well as contemporary oils, but flowers today are sometimes seen as trivial, more appropriate to "lady" painters and unworthy vehicles for serious ideas.

The "Colorful World" exhibition underway at M50, the artists' hub, presents flower works by oil painter Sun Liang, who paints in ink, and ink-wash painter Lu Chuntao, who paints in oil.

"Late last summer, I picked up a dying cicada on my way home," recalls Sun. "Suddenly, I grasped a deeper understanding of the cycle of life. My heart was opened; nature lives with me in symbiosis, everything is with me as a whole."

Since then, he paints not only the dying cicada but other nameless flowers and grasses.

He rented an old house in a small canal town in the quiet suburbs.

"Every morning when I open the window there, I hear the flowing of the river and see the dawn light on the trees," he says. "I sublimate my mind to these sounds and images.

There is a captivating feeling of randomness and freedom fused in Sun's flowers, and viewers feel drawn to their tranquility.

In a striking contrast, Lu's flowers are distant and mysterious. He paints vast fields of dark, regular rows of dark flowers against a dark backdrop, as though they are flowers from another time in history, or another planet.

"Some question what ink and wash can accomplish today and I try to answer in my paintings," says Lu. "The flowers are blossoming brilliantly in my heart but they appear pious and quiet in my paintings.

Lu's paintings suggest the texture and color blocks often found in oils. "I don't like to be bound by technique," Lu says. "Actually, the real poems, music and paintings emerge when technique is forgotten."

Date: through May 15, 10am-6pm

Venue: Huafu Art Space, Rm 217, Bldg 4, 50 Moganshan Rd


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