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July 30, 2011

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Ink-wash paintings of urban faces

INFUSING Chinese ink-wash paintings with a new look while preserving tradition is easier said than done. Not many artists achieve a satisfactory fusion, but a new exhibition showcases the significant work of Shanghai pioneers.

Ink-wash paintings by Zhang Guimin, Wang Jieyin, Zhang Peicheng, He Xi, Cai Guangbin and Lu Chuntao are exhibited at Huafu Art Center at M50 through August 15.

Titled "Contemporary Spiritual Realm," the show features 40 new paintings by these representative members of the Shanghai Ink School.

The works are varied in subject, angle and use of color but all reflect a modern spirit.

"Many people say that my paintings are reminiscent of Miro in the West - I don't know whether that's a compliment or a criticism," says Zhang Guimin, the former director of the Liu Haisu Art Museum. "Unlike many of my peers, I explored possibilities in the application of color."

Zhang uses vibrant colors, very different from traditional ink wash, and conjures up tableau with Western feeling.

"It's not easy to achieve these effects," says Zhang. "I experimented for a long time on rice paper."

Artist He Xi tends to use metaphor and present a narrative through his depiction of fish, glass and vases.

Among the six, only Zhang Peicheng features human figures and these are exaggerated with a feeling of primitive folk art.

"If you look closely, you will see that I also use multiple perspective," says Zhang. "I prefer to depict the ordinary people around me on rice paper. It's more meaningful to depict urban people than familiar ancient ladies whom I have never seen."

Date: Through August 15, 10am-5pm

Address: Rm 217, Bldg 4, 50 Moganshan Rd

Tel: 3208-0681


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